On the second anniversary of Malta Public Transport’s operation, and after an investment of €40 million, last night’s presentation gave us some pretty enlightening updates on the bus situation in Malta. Coinciding with our survey on bus punctuality, here are the most interesting highlights.
1. Over the last two years, there have been more passengers on Maltese buses than the population of Germany
In the past two years, 83.2 million passengers rode Malta’s buses: 39.9 million people in 2015 and another 43.3 million in 2016. This increase of over 3 million passengers in a single year is impressive and ties in nicely with our own survey results, where more than 80% of the 300+ people surveyed said they used the bus several times a week.
2. 2016 was the best year for the buses’ satisfaction ratings
In the last four years, customer scores for Maltese public transport went from 6.6 to 7.3, and according to the company, it has received 75% fewer complaints during the last year. That, coupled with the 35,000 Facebook likes Malta Public Transport racked up recently, is a clear testament of the new wave of social interaction and customer communication that the company is trying hard to achieve.
3. There’s more than one bus for every day of the year
With 176 new environmentally-friendly buses, Malta’s bus fleet is growing significantly bigger, now sitting at a comfortable 380 buses. This means Malta Public Transport will cover more ground, more frequently. In fact, the company has already reported a 17% increase in frequency, which is mainly focused around central Malta.
4. There are now 250,000 Tallinja card users, equivalent to half of Malta’s population
Yep, even though a figure that big might be a bit hard to believe, there are now 250,000 Tallinja cards in circulation. The Tallinja app also seems to have made a splash, with an impressive 100,000 users.
5. More buses mean more drivers… many more
Even considering all the new buses and routes, the biggest investment by far was in human resources. Seven hundred new employees have been recruited to Malta Public Transport, meaning the workforce has effectively doubled. This might make keeping track of your favourite driver’s daily activities a little tougher, but hey, we’re willing to compromise that for efficiency.
6. Fewer buses have been getting into accidents or breaking down
With an increasingly large portion of the buses on the road being brand new and an even larger number of drivers joining the ranks, Malta’s public transport has already seen 10% fewer accidents on the road, and 34% fewer breakdowns. And hey, if the absence of Facebook photos of buses catching fire is anything to go by, then things are definitely improving.
7. 95% of buses are departing on time, but most of them are still arriving late
…and that means it’s not really Malta Public Transport’s fault.
So that controversial claim by Transport Minister Joe Mizzi has finally been cleared up a bit; the 95% punctuality rate actually refers to buses departing within their scheduled time, which to be fair is the company’s main responsibility.
When we brought up the issue of punctuality with our readers, out of their last five journeys (most of which were all in 2017), only 16.8% of the buses were punctual every time. The remaining 83.2% were late at least once out of every five times. A worrying 12% claimed that the bus was late each and every single time.
Those statistics should read as less of a commentary on the buses’ efficiency and more of a reminder that the traffic situation in Malta is getting incrementally worse.