Update 3 - Buses: Tempers fray in Valletta, woman faints, bendy bus problems

Update 3 - Buses: Tempers fray in Valletta, woman faints, bendy bus problems

Updated 2.25 with details on bendy bus problems, breakdowns

A bus driver was almost assaulted as patience started to run out in the sun-baked Valletta bus terminus this morning. A woman fainted as she waited for a bus.

The incident incident involving the bus driver happened at about 11.15 a.m. when the driver drove into the wrong bus bay. Passengers who had been waiting for the bus to Balzan for over an hour crossed over, three boarded the bus and 'screamed' at the hapless driver while others did the same from outside the vehicle.

In a separate incident, a woman who had been waiting for a bus in the sun fainted at about 1 p.m. and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Earlier, a man boarded an empty bus and refused to disembark, saying he would suffer a heart attack if he waited in the sun any longer. After half an hour, the driver switched off the airconditioner and the man got out.

There were several incidents of passengers banging on the buses when they drove up, asking where there next trip was to. In many cases, the drivers did not know.

People at the terminus said delays were persisting, and confusing did not seem to be abating, despite Arriva claims to the contrary earlier this morning.

One passenger said she had been waiting for an hour for a bus to Ghadira.

Many people were 'swamping' terminus officials, demanding information on when the buses were due, but not getting answers.

The situation was made worse by the fact that there are no sun shades at the Valletta bus terminus.

The same scenario was unfolding at Mater Dei Hospital. Many people said it took them two hours to get there. An Arriva assistant was getting bombarded with questions amid much groaning by the waiting commuters. They also complained that many buses still did not display destination notices.

At the Ferries, in Sliema, a commuter said buses were full up and passengers were being kept waiting. Another disembarked from a bus and said it had been 'a sauna'.

At a Marsa-Qormi interchange, a commuter said he had been waiting for over two hours to get a bus to Mater Dei. "It is blazing hot, there is nowhere from where one can get shelter, a drink or go to the toilet," he said. Another 30 people were on that bus stop.

A timesofmalta.com reporter said she came across a driver who could hardly speak Maltese or English.

"Officials look exasperated and people are not taking kindly to the confusion," she said.

"Some are commenting that there has to be an element of patience, but in general most are complaining".

Such was the situation that, for the second day running, fares were not charges on some routes.

A driver on the Paola-Vittoriosa route said he had been told not to charge passengers - they had been waiting for over an hour.

But, it seems, it is not just the passengers that are feeling the heat.

A bus broke down at Msida at about 11 a.m., apparently with radiator trouble. Three Chinese technicians were on site to carry out repairs - the bus was built in China and is brand new. (see picture sent by a reader).


Passengers were also evacuated quickly from a 'bendy' bus in St Julians, apparently after a fire alarm went off. Another of the bendy buses developed a fault at Pendergardens terminus, a reader said.

Another reader, John Farrugia, said the long bendy buses were causing traffic congestion along  the stretch from Il-Pjazzetta till Spinola.

"The relevant authorities have not provided bus bays for these long buses so they just stop in the middle of the road to allow passengers to disembark/embark and since they can take a huge number of passengers the delay can be quite long.

"I witnessed many frustrated drivers who after a few minutes just overtake and this could easily be the cause of some accident very soon.

"When a bendy bus got to the stop near Arcidiacono on Tower Road, because of i’s length it also blocked cars coming from St Julian’s and wanting to turn up onto Triq Karm Galea," he said.



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