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Arriva makes 27 route changes

Routes are being changed after passengers’ feedback. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Routes are being changed after passengers’ feedback. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Nearly 20 days after introducing its new service, Arriva yesterday announced 27 changes to its routes, adjusting them according to comments and complaints it had received.

Some routes are being removed, others being shortened and others being introduced afresh after having been removed.

The changes will be implemented over four months, with the first taking place on July 31. They will be staggered to come into effect on September 4, October 2 and October 30.

Arriva said the changes were being made following representations by passengers, businesses and organisations and after “extensive discussions” with Transport Malta, which focused on areas where links were not sufficiently catered for or where journey times had increased.

This attitude jarred with a statement by the Transport Ministry issued almost concurrently blaming the matter on “little input” from people and local councils to the announced routes, which had been made public since 2009.

“It is worth mentioning that the routes with which the new service started on July 3 were drawn up following an extended and long consultation period, which took two years. Unfortunately, during the planning stage, there was very little input from the public and local councils,” the ministry said.

No matter how extended and effective consultation was, a change to the system would have to be tweaked after it was implemented in practice and once the real clients – the passengers – were listened to, it continued, adding that it had received comments on 18 of the routes.

Remarking 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.”

“While 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.”

New direct services

New direct services will be provided between cities and villages in the south and Mater Dei Hospital. Although there was an agreement in principle, details were still being worked out.

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

• Rabat, Lija, Mosta, St Julians to Mater Dei: Route 202 will start going to Mater Dei to offer a direct service from these localities to hospital.

• Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua to Marsascala: Routes 121 and 124 will be reorganised into one route offering a direct connection between the towns and villages.

• Sliema to Gżira health centre: Changes will be made to route 116 to have a direct connection between Sliema and the Gżira health centre.

New direct services to Valletta

• Naxxar to Valletta: Besides the existing service, there will be a more direct route between Naxxar and Valletta, passing through Birkirkara bypass.

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

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

• Għargħur to Valletta: A new more direct service between Għargħur and Valletta, passing through the Birkirkara bypass and Mater Dei.

Route changes to better cover urban zones

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

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

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

• Żejtun: The service will be extended to improve access to the east of the locality.

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

• San Ġwann t’Għuxa: Route 2 will pass through this zone in both directions.

• Gżira (Rue D’Argens) and Sliema (Savoy Routes 22 u 32 will pass through Rue d’Argens in Gżira to Savoy in both directions to offer a direct and fast connection from and to Valletta.

• Xewkija: Route 302 will be adjusted to cover more of Xewkija.

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

Routes to be shortened

• Ċirkewwa to Valletta: Route 41 will stop passing through Buġibba.

• Birżebbuġa and Marsaxlokk to Valletta: Routes 81 and 82 will stop going to the Marsa park-and-ride.

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

Additional services to Valletta

• Qormi (St George) to Valletta: New route 63 between Qormi (St George), Ħamrun and Valletta.

• Għaxaq, Gudja to Valletta: A new route X5 linking these localities to Valletta.

• Attard to Valletta: New route 54 from Misraħ Kola to the centre of Attard, ending in Valletta.

• Fleur de Lys to Valletta: A new direct route linking Valletta to the old bus terminus at the Stazzjon in Birkirkara, Fleur-de-lys and Ħamrun.

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

• Pembroke, Swieqi and Ta’ Ġiorni to Valletta: New routes from and towards Valletta will be operated from these localities.

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