The total number of Malta Public Transport buses will increase to 435 after 40 new buses arrived on Friday, with the aim of increasing the number of passengers to be carried during each route.
Ian Borg, the current Transport Minister, stated that the investment costed Malta Public Transport €9 million, with that money being completely dedicated to improving the service entirely whilst also addressing some shortcomings that the service was having.
The addition of these new buses will take the total fleet from 405 buses to 435, as ten of the existing buses will have to be replaced by new ones. The buses to be replaced are all nine-meter buses, and they will be replaced by new 12-meter buses which according to Dr Borg are much better suited to Malta’ needs.
The new buses will have protective screens which will act as a form of separation for the driver cabin from the passengers of the bus. Apart from this, there will also be Wi-fi and USB ports available for passengers to make use of.
The protective screens were added due to their being an “alarming increase in assault cases on chauffeurs.”
In addition to this, Dr Borg also stated that the new additions would allow for there to be 69,000 more trips annually, whilst also making it more feasible for the service to run through popular tourist areas as well as other areas in which the demand for the bus service was very high.
Whilst Dr Borg refrained from stating the routes to have an increased frequency, as they will be released in the coming days, he did say that Santa Venera and Fgura in particular both need to have a larger passenger carrying capacity, with passengers often having to wait for a bus that is not full to the brim in the scorching summer sun.
When speaking on the sector of public transport as a whole, Dr Borg said that the government had “reformed the reform”, as according to the Labour government, the sector was not well managed prior to the 2013 election.
With increasing awareness on climate change, the number of bus passengers has increased massively throughout the last few years, with a 60,000 increase in everyday passengers from eight years ago.