The current population of Gozo, Malta’s sister island, is roughly 31,000 people. For a metro connection between the two islands to make sense, Gozo’s population would have to increase five times to around 150,000 people, according to a report by the Times of Malta.
With Malta’s traffic problem quickly reaching a breaking point, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently announced that studies for a metro system in Malta are at an advanced stage. Speaking at the annual general conference of the Malta Developer’s Association, Muscat said that the government will start looking into the initiative after the first phase of the €700 million road project is complete.
The studies for the metro are being carried out by Arup, a London-based engineering and consultancy firm, which has worked on some major global projects – including Sydney Opera House, the Silicon Valley headquarters of Apple, the Etihad Stadium and the London Eye.
Despite the proposed system by London-based engineer Konrad Xuereb, Muscat has indicated that indicated that Gozo would not be a part of the metro
The Sunday Times of Malta have reported that the preferred model for a metro system would cover what Arup are calling the “Principal Urban Area”. This covers that North Habour region of the island, this includes Birkirkara, Qormi, Ħamrun, Santa Venera, and the area covering Swieqi and San Ġwann, and St. Julian’s all the way to Pieta.
This line would service around a third of the population by running in a loop of about thirty kilometres. It would cover the commute of roughly 70,000 Maltese workers, whilst any inclusion of a line in Gozo would only service around 6,000, the experts told the government. Arup have stated that the population of Mellieħa and its surrounding areas would also have to increase fivefold for it to make sense for the metro to service the Northern District.
The connection between Malta and Gozo is being covered by the construction of a link tunnel
Which muscat has indicated will include a form of free public transport. However the project has recently come under the scrutiny of several local NGOs who have called for more wide-ranging studies to be done and more public consultations to be held before any major move is made.