Malta’s bus fleet is set for a major redesign after the Transport Ministry officially endorsed an architect’s proposal for them.
London-based architect Jonathan Mizzi and his firm Mizzi Studio launched the designs last April, proposing a return to the past, back when buses were colour-coded according to their destination.
Now the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry and Mizzi Studio have launched a video of the design ahead of an upcoming premiere at Triton Square on 11th October.
“The Malta Bus Reborn concept by Mizzi Studio bridges the gap between tradition and progress, taking beloved elements from the traditional Maltese bus loved by so many and incorporating them into a new model for an electric bus,” a statement on the video reads. “Innovation is key in our move towards multimodality and electromobility.”
“Public transport is also an important means that serves a lot of people.”
“When we speak about multimodality, we do not only mean avoiding the use of the private vehicle every time, choosing to walk or using a small vehicle such as the motorcycle or the bicycle,” Transport Minister Ian Borg said. “On the contrary, a very important means in this move is public transport. In the last few years we’ve made several investment in this means of transport, to have a larger fleet that can support the increase in use, to continue incentivising people to use it, as well as for a continuously cleaner and more sustainable fleet.”
“We therefore cannot but fully support a concept that prioritises the environment and sustainability, while looking back to our departure point from our childhood.”
On his part, Jonathan Mizzi thanked Borg for his support, stating that “we believe our new bus can redefine a segment of Maltese heritage that has remained truly valued by its public.”
The project is also being supported by Heritage Malta, Arts Council Malta, Malta Public Transport, Lovin Malta, Eden Leisure Group, Stargate Studios, Transport Malta, Mizzi Organisation and Gadgets.
The designs were revealed last April by Lovin Tomorrow, a one-off newspaper published by Lovin Malta to mark April’s Fool.
The traditional hand-painting line pattens and lettering (tberfil) that had characterised the old buses have been re-imagined through LED technology, which will allow drivers to customise their own vehicles as they had in the past.
The chrome bumper adopts the form of angel wings, often seen on traditional buses, to symbolise victory and flight, while an abstract Maltese cross would be carved into the rear of the bus as a symbol of national pride. Badges of a Maltese cross, along with horseshoe badges that were traditionally fixed to the buses to ward off evil spirits, are also included in this new design.
The fleet will be fully electric and emission-free, with state-of-the-art airconditioning and cooling systems, middle doors for efficient boarding and disembarking and low floors and ramps to ensure full accessibility for people with disabilities.