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Catching the right bus online

Next time you want to go from Birżebbuġa to the Blue Grotto and have no idea how to get there by bus, a new website developed by an IT student should be of some help.

Michael Debono, a fourth-year ICT student who designed the website as a University project, said he was inspired by overseas websites for train routes.

"In this way, people who have no idea how the bus system in Malta works can make better use of the service," the 21-year-old said when contacted. The website also gives users the routes mapped out on the Google Maps service. However, there are some niggles as a route from Marsa to Valletta appears to cross the Grand Harbour and onto Fort St Elmo.

This should improve once the transport reform comes through, when there would be more points and bus stations on the Malta Transport Authority's database, according to Mr Debono. Until then, users can still tweak the maps to make them more accurate.

Tal-linja.com works by accessing the transport regulator's database and after the user selects his point of departure and arrival, the website displays the bus routes available, where to stop and connect to another bus and what time the buses would be leaving; in theory, at least.

And if you are feeling spontaneous and are seeking an adventure, you can always hit the "I want to be random" button and see what trip the system proposes.

There are still some kinks that need to be ironed out in the website. However, unlike the public transport system, it works well and didn't cost millions of euros to develop.

www.tal-linja.com

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