No parking bays in Malta are more multi-coloured than in Valletta. This Valletta Parking Scheme was the concoction brewed up by Dr Austin Gatt to keep his voters happy.
The GREEN bays can be used for parking by residents only.
The BLUE bays can be used for parking by residents only from 7pm to 7am. Other drivers can use these bays from 7am to 7pm ONLY.
The WHITE parking bays can be used by anyone for parking.
However, this scheme has issues.
- Firstly, residents primarily seek to always park in the WHITE or BLUE bays thus leaving the GREEN bays available for their exclusive use.
- Secondly, the council is involved in the issue of CVA Exemption Permits and this is absolutely unacceptable because the Mayor and the councilors might have a vested interest in accommodating residents for votes. Such exemptions should be issued through the CVA Board however it seems that many such requests are passing only through the council.
- Thirdly, shop owners have informed me that the green parking bays have the habit of sprouting out of nothing overnight. Shop owners had confirmed with Transport Malta that no permits were issued for the additional green parking bays which were implemented prior to the EU Presidency. And yet, for some unknown reason, no action was taken by Transport Malta. Since the start of the EU Presidency there was a large increase in the amount of new green bays. The council argues that these increased green bays will be removed after the end of the EU Presidency. This is unacceptable because it is not only the residents who are effected by the loss of parking due to the presidency but also shop owners. However, the council seems to address only the problems of residents maybe because shop owners do not have Valletta votes.
- Fourthly, shop owners have observed that during the day, when the Valletta residents should be away at work, the green bays are always completely full. During the night, when all the Valletta residents are assumed to be home fast asleep with their car parked in the green bays, about half of these green bays are empty. The only explanation for this is that probably there is rampant abuse of the system somewhere along the way.
Valletta shop owners have complained that, since the introduction of this parking scheme and the CVA System, they saw their sales dwindle. Notwithstanding, the shop owners admitted that about three years ago, the Minister for Transport Hon Joe Mizzi had limited the operation of the CVA system to 2pm and had reduced the Floriana Park and Ride charges. These two latter measures were life-saving for the shop owners.
What exactly went wrong with the Valletta Parking Scheme and the CVA?
The scenario has developed two distinct problems:
- The parking scheme is unbalanced in favour of parking-permit-holders.
- The CVA runs at a loss.
Why did this happen?
When the CVA system and the parking scheme were introduced there were two important factors which were supporting the system, hence:
- The Floriana Park-and-Ride was free of charge.
- The public transport system was centralized in Valletta. All bus routes led to Valletta.
Once these two factors changed, the CVA system and the parking scheme were unsupported. Hence, the system became unbalanced and collapsed.
What will happen next?
A re-think of the parking scheme is required to create a fair balance between different users. Malta holds its breath and continues to wait for the launching of the new Car Parking Policy and hopefully this Valletta Parking Scheme will be addressed in such policy!!!!