Spot checks never found a case of overloaded buses, Transport Minister says

Transport Minister Ian Borg says that a total of €168,215 in fines were issued in 2018 for breaches by the public transport operator

In 2018, Malta Public Transport carried 53.4 million passengers, an 11% increase
In 2018, Malta Public Transport carried 53.4 million passengers, an 11% increase

Regular spot checks on buses never encountered a case where the vehicle was overloaded with passengers, Ian Borg told Parliament on Tuesday.

This was despite the increase of passengers using the public transport service, the Transport Minister said.

In 2018, there were 53.4 million passengers, who made use of public buses, an 11% increase from the previous year. Borg announced that even 2019 was looking as if there was a further significant increase.

"Between January and March of this year, 4,000 inspections of buses and bus equipment took place. In various localities, further spot checks are carried out to make sure the buses do not take on more passengers than they are certified to carry. Transport Malta also carries out spot checks on the cleanliness of public buses. The latter take place in the morning before they start their daily service," Borg said.

He tabled this information in Parliament in reply to a question by Nationalist MP Toni Bezzina.

"It's understandable that with such a vast increase of people using public transport, we would face new challenges. The spot checks also help us identify those routes where passengers cannot board because buses are full, which will help us determine whether certain routes require adding more buses to it. A final report was drawn up with details from every locality and it is currently being analysed," Borg said.

He added that ever since Transport Malta introduced the concept of the Tallinja Card, the efficiency of the public transport service has improved and that 80% of passengers use the card.

When asked about drivers who take detours and ignore the stipulated routes, Borg said that any non-conformities that are found in this regard will not be suffered by the driver in question but have to be faced by the public transport operator, the Malta Public Transport, a private entity.

"In 2018, a total of €168,215 in fines were issued. Some of these are still being disputed by the operator and have to do with all kinds of breaches," Borg confirmed.