One solution to Malta’s perpetual traffic problems is the introduction of a bus rapid transit system (BRT) that will result in more space dedicated to public transportation, some of the industry’s leading experts have suggested.
Lovin Malta is kicking off a week-long discussion on local transport, some of the problems it faces, and its future, starting with an interview with three experts in the field.
Professor Maria Attard, MCAST’s Deputy Director of IBMC at MCAST Karl Camilleri and Malta Public Transport’s General Manager Konrad Pule featured on Lovin Daily to discuss mass transit solutions, specifically BRT, and the possibility of a metro in Malta.
“We need a system that is segregated. A system which has its own infrastructure and its own space so that it can meet its timetable and schedule,” Attard said as she kicked off the discussion.
“To do that, public transport needs to evolve, and for it to evolve, it needs to have space on the road which is dedicated just for it,” Pule continued.
While defending the reliability of the current public transport systems, including the 400 busses around the island, Pule argued that more can be done.
“I’m not saying that it isn’t reliable, but it isn’t enough,” he continued. “One of the challenges is people’s behaviour and expectations. If we can find ways to take idle cars out of the way, and get those cars to park underground in a structured way, you free up that space and make transportation more attractive.”
Surprisingly, Pule revealed that 50% to 60% of bus users do have easy access to cars, but choose public transport instead.
“We have space for such infrastructure, it’s a misconception that we need to remove parking everywhere for this to happen. There are studies which show that certain stretches of road keep parking and everyone happy.”
Creating dedicated lanes for public transport goes hand-in-hand with the introduction of new transport systems such as the BRT.
“The aim of having a mass transport system is to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and improve people’s access,” Camilleri said. “The Light Rail Transit system (LRT) and BRT can solve that problem.”
The possibility of a metro, however, seems more like a distant dream, if anything…
“The metro is an interesting solution but it would take very long. Malta is solid rock and it would take you one year to build three kilometres, and then you need to add infrastructure on top of that,” Camilleri continued.
“Even then, you’re not solving the original problem, which both LRT and BRT can solve. Traffic is still there, pollution is still there,” he said.
While introducing mass transit solutions is contingent on changing people’s behaviours, the process is one that requires careful planning, years of preparation and a holistic embrace of current and future technologies.
“We have a lot of opportunities but we need to be prepared for them. We have a lot of opportunities to ride on the technology existing and developing today,” Attard ended.
What’s your opinion on mass transit solutions? Let us know below