Bus passenger tells of ‘journey from hell’

A woman who was forced to use the bus had the “journey from hell” last Tuesday, ending up back where she started after a two-hour detour.

Nicola Sullivan boarded the 203 bus near her home in Balluta Bay at about 8.10pm with the intention of meeting her friend at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard.

She would normally drive herself but her car was undergoing costly repairs to damages it sustained when she drove into an open trench filled with seawater on The Strand earlier this month.

Having phoned Arriva earlier in the day and being told that bus 203 would definitely stop near the Corinthia, Ms Sullivan, 48, was not expecting any drama on the journey.

However, when the bus got to Tal-Qroqq, near the University, the driver pulled over and informed his three passengers he would have to drive to the Marsa depot because the bus was low on fuel. When they arrived at the depot, Ms Sullivan claims that the driver told them he would not be going any further.

“At this point, a Maltese-Australian passenger went berserk and demanded the bus continued the journey,” said Ms Sullivan, who is British.

The bus driver did as he was told and, after dropping off the other two passengers, he told Ms Sullivan she had arrived in Attard at about 9.05pm.

Unfortunately for Ms Sullivan, the information she had been given on the telephone by an Arriva official earlier in the day did not match the route the bus had taken.

The driver said she was still far away from the Corinthia and would have to take another bus.

After protests from Ms Sullivan, the driver agreed to take her to a point where she could easily catch a bus and he drove her to the main road in Ta’ Qali.

“He told me to cross the road and wait at the bus stop but it was dark and I was afraid of being left there with no one else around,” said Ms Sullivan.

The driver then took her to the bus stop in Rabat, close to Mdina, where she was forced to get out and wait in the dark alone.

“A man wearing a hood suddenly came out of nowhere and started walking towards me, so I panicked and jumped on the first bus that came,” she said.

This bus driver said he was bound for Paceville, so she was resigned to going home without meeting her friend. But the bus did not quite make it to Paceville, terminating at the Pembroke park-and-ride instead.

From there, Ms Sullivan took a final bus, eventually arriving back at Balluta Bay just after 10pm.

“It really was the journey from hell. I will never even attempt to get a bus at night-time again,” said Ms Sullivan, though she added that the drivers themselves were quite pleasant.

An Arriva spokesman said the company had opened an investigation into the case based on the information provided by Ms Sullivan to The Times.

“At this stage, the investigation is still ongoing.

“However, Arriva can guarantee that any and all actions that might be needed based on the results of investigation will be taken both in terms of operations and also in terms of employee discipline,” the spokesman said.

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