Government needs to unveil transport strategy by next budget, PD says

Partit Demokratiku said that the government's lack of political will and maturity was contributing to a deteriorating quality of life

San Gwann is one of the many localities that is undergoing a massive facelift to cater for the increased cars on Maltese roads
San Gwann is one of the many localities that is undergoing a massive facelift to cater for the increased cars on Maltese roads

Maltese quality of life is deteriorating in part because of traffic and a bad transport strategy which needs to be tackled by the next government budget, Partit Demokratiku said.

"Transport affects everyone in so many ways. It is a no-brainer that if the public is well served by public transport and alternative means of transport, the number of licenced cars on our roads would not be increasing at such a high rate, and our roads would not be so congested," the party said in a statement on Sunday.

It accused the government of showing a lack of political will and maturity to implement a host of measures as part of a holistic traffic policy to address the needs of Maltese society and an ever-growing economy. 

PD noted that the first responsibility for government and the Infrastructure Agency and Transport Malta is to acknowledge the roots of Malta’s traffic problems and to seek solutions that are a pull and not a push factor, so that travel time and reliability are effectively tackled.

“Public transport is in turn inadequate due to a set of very identifiable and quantifiable challenges and limitations which the government has been choosing to ignore all along. Public transport does not serve commuters efficiently as it does not follow the road concepts of a Rapid Bus Transport system. There is also a general lack of enforcement of traffic regulations. Furthermore, insufficient and/or inexistent re-investment by the public transport operator in order to improve efficiency only compounds the issue,” the statement read.

PD urged the government to introduce soft incentives for limiting the number of car licences voluntarily, whilst offering viable and eco-friendly alternatives by the next budget.

“In addition, there is the widening of roads to the detriment of our environment and the introduction of new monster-size fuel stations. This all adds up to induced demand for more vehicles – a schizophrenic approach on all accounts."

PD called for the urgent setting up of a transparent think-tank with participation from the public who will advise the government with an effective strategy. 

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