Bus route network changes announced

Bus route network changes announced

A number of changes to the Arriva route network that was introduced on July 3 are being made.

Arriva said in a statement the changes, by Transport Malta, follow representations from passengers, local businesses and organisations.

"Arriva Malta has had extensive discussions with Transport Malta which focused on areas where links were not sufficiently catered for or where journey times have increased.

"The first of the changes will be implemented on July 31 with further changes on September 4, October 2 and October 30."

Commenting on the changes, Arriva managing director Keith Bastow said, "As previously commented it is almost inevitable that such a transformational change would lead to the need for some recalibration. The changes that have been announced will enhance the many new travel options already provided for by the new network.

"Whilst the changes do have a commercial impact upon us, l am pleased to be able to confirm that this additional cost will be borne by Arriva Malta and will neither be passed onto the travelling public nor Transport Malta."

In a statement, the Transport Ministry said there were, in all, 71 routes in Malta and Gozo and complaints were received about 18 of them.

The ministry said that the new routes had been implemented following a long and extended consultation process which took two years and in which the public and local councils were invited to participate.

But there was, unfortunately, little input in the planning stage.

However, the ministry was conscious that no matter how extended and effective consultation was, a change would have to be tweaked after it was implemented in practice and once the real clients - passengers, were listened to.

Routes to be shortened:

  1. Cirkewwa to Valletta: Route 41 will stop passing through Bugibba.

2. Birżebbuġa and Marsaxlokk to Valletta: Routes 81 and 82 will stop going to the Marsa Park and Ride.

3. Qrendi and Żurrieq to Valletta: Routes 71 and 72 will stop going to the airport.

New direct services

4. Direct services will be provided between cities and villages in the south and Mater Dei.

The ministry said that while there was an agreement in principle, the organisation of these routes was still being discussed with the operator and more details will be given in future.

5. Ċirkewwa to Valletta: The service will be linked to the arrival of the Gozo Channel vessel and there will be few stops on the way to Valletta.

6. Rabat-Lija-Mosta-St Julian’s and Mater Dei: Route 202 will start going to Mater Dei to offer a direct service from these villages to hospital.

7. The three cities to Marsaskala: Routes 121 and 124 will be reorganised into one route creating a direct connection between the towns and villages.

8. Sliema to Gzira health centre: Changes will be made to route 116 to create a direct connection between Sliema and the Gzira health centre.

Additional services to Valletta:

9. Qormi (San Ġorġ) to Valletta: New route 63 will be created between Qormi (San Ġorġ), Ħamrun and Valletta.

10. Għaxaq, Gudja to Valletta: New route X5 linking these villages to Valletta will be created.

11. Attard to Valletta: New route 54 from Misraħ Kola to the centre of Attard, ending in Valletta will be created.

12. Fleur de Lys to Valletta: A new direct route linking Valletta to the Old Railway in Birkirkara, Fleur-de-lys and Hamrun will be created.

13. Santa Luċija to Valletta: New route 83 will be introduced from Sta Luċija to Valletta.

14. Pembroke, Swieqi and Ta’ Ġiorni: New routes from and towards Valletta will be organised from these localities.

New more direct services to Valletta

15. Golden Bay/Mġarr to Valletta: Besides the existing service, a more direct service will also be created between Mgarr and Golden Bay to Valletta, passing through Mosta.

16. Għargħur to Valletta: A new more direct service between Gharghur and Valletta, passing through the Birkirkara by-pass and Mater Dei will be created.

17. Naxxar to Valletta: Besides the existing service, a more direct route between Naxxar and Valletta, passing through Birkirkara by-pass will be created.

18. Marsaskala: Route 91, which directly serves Marsascala to Valletta, will be extended to St Thomas Bay and the area near St Thomas Tower.

Route changes to cover urban zones better:

19. Gżira (Rue D’Argens)  and Sliema (Savoy): Routes 22 u 32 will start passing through Rue d’Argens in Gzira to Savoy in both directions to give a direct and fast connection from and to Valletta.

20. Birżebbuġa (Tal-Papa): Route 82 will be adjusted to cover tal-Papa.

21. Xgħajra: Route 3 will be adjusted to cover more of Xghajra.

22. Psaila Street, Birkirkara: Route 125 will be adjusted and given in both directions to provide better connections to Psaila Street.

23. Żejtun: The service will be extended to improve access to the east of Zejtun.

24. Kappara: Route 116 will be adjusted to better serve the zone.

25. San Ġwann t’Għuxa: Route 2 will start passing through this zone in both directions.

26. Xewkija: Rotta 302 will be adjusted to cover more of Xewkija.

27. Għajnsielem: Route 303 will be adjusted to cover more of Ghajnsielem.

The ministry said that following consultation with Arriva, the winter timetable will come into effect on October 2 instead of October 15, as had originally been planned.

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