Don’t blame the roads, blame Arriva
So when Arriva buses first made it to Malta (calm down with the cheering fellas), amidst all the no-shows, impractical new routes and clueless drivers, I was one of the few to say that everyone should calm the hell down and give them a chance.
Let’s face it, every new system is bound to have some teething problems, right? So – despite a rather unhappy incident when I practically had to walk from Valletta to Attard because my car was at the mechanic’s and Bus Number 106 was nowhere to be seen after a couple of hours – I put on my smiley face and continued being nice about the new buses.
Fast-forward a year or so later and boy, do I have egg on my face. Even with the best will in the world, it’s impossible not to call the bus service an unmitigated disaster. The service is expensive; trying to follow a time-table is like playing Russian roulette; and – to cap it all – they are a menace on the road.
Because no, despite what some of you are claiming, today’s three bus pile-up in Floriana is not attributable to misfortune. Or to wet roads. It is attributable to the fact that the majority of bus drivers drive as though they somehow woke up and found themselves on Autodromo in Monza.
Yes, I’m generalising. Deal with it. It’s based on the evidence I see on the road every single day.
Only, of course, the Maltese roads couldn’t get any further from the Monza track if they tried. Which is why, when a bus driver decides that hey, taking on that right angle turn at 50mph is a good idea, disasters tend to happen.
It also explains why when two bus drivers decide that racing each other on the Msida promenade – effectively blocking both lanes – is also a good idea, pile ups tend to happen on their tail.
This also explains the regular trading of insults (not to mention car parts) when bus drivers decide to step on the gas pedal when someone is attempting to overtake them from the fast lane.
All this is great fun to witness, of course. Everyone loves a good (metaphorical) punching bag and Arriva drivers fit the punching bag profile like no other. Yes, it’s all fun and games until the accident quotas start building up.
The first few accidents were rather hilarious in nature, with bendy buses jammed at awkward angles and the like. Today’s pile-up, on the other hand, showed us that there’s nothing funny about the shameful driving etiquette that the collective fleet tends to exhibit. To use a colloquialism, they are ‘savages on the road’.
And while we have a good snigger at the memes, maybe it’s time for the bosses at Arriva to start taking their responsibilities a bit more seriously. A couple more accidents like these, and a beautifully-wrapped manslaughter suit might just be round the corner. Heavens forbid.