Public Transport in Malta
Many of us will fondly remember the unique experience of travelling on the iconic Maltese bus, a symbol of Malta which has made it into souvenir shops and many a tourist's travel blog. Indeed, many mixed feelings have been aired over the replacement of the bubbly yellow buses by a modern bus service. The dilemma in recent years has been between travelling on a piece of history (some of the buses dated back to the 1950s) or travelling in increased comfort. While most visitors to our islands found taking a bus in Malta quite an experience (even if not always delightful) in itself, most locals welcome the improved service, although naturally feel nostalgic for what seemed an integral part of Maltese culture.
The introduction of the modern Arriva bus service on 3rd July 2011 signifies a brand new bus network with new route numbers and timetables. The improved new network covers 34 per cent more route kilometres and reduces journey times considerably by the introduction of many new direct routes which by-pass the necessity to enter Valletta to change buses.
The Arriva website provides thorough information to help you plan your journey. The handy drop-down box named 'My Journey' on the website's homepage is very convenient, and helps turn the nostalgia into excitement that the change-over looks promising of a very efficiently-run and user-friendly public transportation experience. The easy-to-navigate website also allows you to easily access information about various routes and timetables, and offers the option to download a full network map or individual route maps and timetables.
Mainline routes travel to and from Valletta, the capital, are colour-coded and show the main destinations on the side of the bus. Direct routes serve towns and villages around Malta directly, by-passing Valletta. Night buses run mainly from St Julian's nightlife area to various locations in Malta. There are four Airport Express services serving major towns and also three Park and Ride sites connecting with bus routes. There are ten bus routes in Gozo. Bus stops feature colour-coded route numbers, which are the same as those on the buses themselves. Some bus stops have a number of routes serving them, so that you can interchange to another bus to your final destination.
Fares vary on various factors but remain some of the most economical public transport rates you will find in Europe, ranging from 50c to 2.60 Euro for a day ticket. There are several ticket types, for example they can be valid for 2 hours, a day or 7 days, or you could also purchase a 30 day saver or 90 day saver. Prices vary between travelling in Malta or Gozo, by the age of the passenger, and even by whether you hold a Maltese or Gozitan Identity Card or none. Click here for a complete list of bus fare options. Tickets can be purchased from ticket vending machines, Arriva ticketing offices or on the bus and eventually even online.
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"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" - Saint Augustine