There are many unspoken rules to being a respectable bus-user here in Malta. We’ve highlighted eight handy tips for you to follow that will help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re catching tal-linja.
1. Stick your hand out at the bus-stop
You don’t have to put out your thumb hitchhiking style, but a general wave in the driver’s direction once your bus is in sight is a must. Otherwise, the driver might zoom by you without a second glance. And once the bus does stop – hustle!
2. Don’t ring the bell unnecessarily
It’s every bus driver’s pet peeve, so don’t go pissing on their day unnecessarily. It’s quite a simple concept – don’t ring the bell unless your stop is up next, and if someone has already rung it once, don’t ring it again. Contrary to popular opinion, the driver does have ears.
3. Respect personal space
If there’s a ton of empty seats, don’t go cosying up to another passenger. The seats are already uncomfortable enough, and deliberately sitting so close to a stranger is just plain weird.
4. Get to your seat ASAP
Sometimes drivers don’t properly calculate the amount of time a person needs to find a seat. Or, you know, they just don’t care. Whatever the case, it’s best you beeline to your seat once you’ve swiped your tallinja card.
5. Keep it to yourself
Unless you’re 70-something, you really shouldn’t go about sharing your life story with the poor sod who’s sitting next to you. It just makes them feel awkward and uncomfortable.
6. Use headphones
The 80s are done and dusted, so it’s no longer OK to blast your music while on public transport – not even if you actually have a boom box. Use headphones like a nice person. Besides, headphones help send the message that you want to be left alone for a while.
7. Be ready to queue with the best
The British might be known for their queues, but Maltese people are known for turning their queues into a competition. If there’s a crowd of people around when your bus stops, be ready to manoeuvre your way through to get a good seat.
8. Use your indoor voice
When answering phone calls on a bus, keep the volume to a minimum. Nobody really wants to know about what happened to you last night at the club, or have many bags of salad you need to buy from LIDL.