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RIP The Quirky And Unique Maltese Bus Service  
User currently offlineGBLKD From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2011, 345 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2254 times:

For those who don't know the bus services on the islands of Malta and Gozo are (at the moment) a fantastically unique public transport system. At present the buses are owned by thier drivers and regulated by the Maltese authorities. No 2 vehicles are the same. Some of the vehicles are around 50 years old and have few original parts remaining, it's not uncommon to see Daf, Volvo, and Scania parts all on the same bus that started out many moons ago as a Leyland or Bristol.

It was decided that the buses needed to be updated, new efficient safer low floor vehicles. That's fine, unique they are but it was time for a change and modernisation.

This is a pic I snapped last time I was there 2 years ago

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a39/OrangeRat/Photo38_36A.jpg

To many visitors the buses are one of the things that give Malta it's "soul" and there is a brisk trade in bus merchandise. Travelling on one is a real experience, part of the holiday.

In 25 days the new "improved" bus service will start. See below

http://www.arriva.com.mt/home?l=1

Arriva will be running the buses. A ship full of King Long single deckers from China is on it's way (if it's not docked already) all painted in Arriva's dull corporate blue and white, the same boring livery seen on many a damp grey British road in rush hour.

I know that times change and safer, cleaner, more efficient buses are needed but it's a real shame that the bright yellow, orange, and white livery has to go. It wouldn't have killed Arriva to keep the colours would it? Modernise but keep the individual identity? On Malta and Gozo they'll be the only service bus operator so it's not like they really need to spread thier horrible corporate image to such a beautiful country.

In Britain we've lost most local bus identites to Arriva, Stagecoach, and First, what a shame that the most unique and interesting bus system in Europe will soon be assimilated into the bland corporate collective.

It will be sad day when this colouful individuality vanishes from malta's roads.

As for the build quality of the new plastic clones vs some of the roads they'll encounter, erm I don't give it long before there are more buses MX than in service.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2996 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2222 times:

A shame, I remember the same from my own visit a few years ago.
Perhaps they will keep some of the old ones as a special "tourist route" service?

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently onlineMWHCVT From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2008, 681 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2158 times:

This is tragic, what is it that they say that not all change is good change...I love these old buses, it's something that I always remember from my two trips to Malta and Gozo, come on we more than likly have a sub in the med at the moment captain do the decent thing and sink that ship full of buses coming in from china...

A sad sad day...

Matt
MWHCVT



Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
User currently offlineAF340 From Canada, joined Jul 2007, 2786 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2149 times:

Oh the stories my father would regale us with about the buses in Malta. How the drivers would (well this was back in the 60s and 70s) always leave room for St. Christopher by leaving room between their seat and the bus wall. The terrifying trips from his home to the school or the RAF base.

A shame I will never get to experience that for myself.


User currently offlineYVRLTN From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 2444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2117 times:

I heard its not only buses, but their will be new emission regulations for all trucks too. I almost went last year just to see all the Leylands, Fodens and Scammells etc. Shame, hope they stick around for a long while yet.


Follow me on twitter for YVR movements @vernonYVR
User currently offlinebj87 From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 448 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2039 times:

That is a shame, those buses look awesome.

User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9166 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2020 times:

This is one of the bad things the EU brings along.

The Maltese bus system was unique with all the old buses. We sometimes waited for the next bus instead of hopping into a more modern bus.

I hope they keep some of the old Leylands for tourists / sightseeing service.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineoldeuropean From Germany, joined May 2005, 2076 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1946 times:

So, because of your sentimental feelings the Maltese have to drive precarious, uncomfortable, and outdated buses, which even wouldn't be accepted in a third world country. (Perhaps beside of Cuba)  
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 6):
This is one of the bad things the EU brings along.

Why is it the EUs fault that Malta has decided to buy new buses? Don't you think that the same would have happened if Malta wouldn't be in the EU?  

[Edited 2011-06-10 09:41:14]


Wer nichts weiss muss alles glauben
User currently onlineMWHCVT From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2008, 681 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1914 times:

Quoting oldeuropean (Reply 7):

So, because of your sentimental feelings the Maltese have to drive precarious, uncomfortable, and outdated buses, which even wouldn't be accepted in a third world country. (Perhaps beside of Cuba)

I see nothing wrong with sentiment, its not all that long ago that many on this board were getting all emotional about new EU reg's that would prevent pleasure/charter style DC-3 flights

I don't think they are precarious, they still have to pass regular safety inspections, and I don't know about you but I didn't find them that uncomfortable when I rode them on holiday and outdated TBH I really don't get that, a service bus is a service bus as far as the average passenger is concerned...

Matt
MWHCVT



Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9166 posts, RR: 29
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1740 times:

Quoting oldeuropean (Reply 7):
Why is it the EUs fault that Malta has decided to buy new buses?

Because the EU regulates such matters. Public transport is subject to invitation by tender, EU wide and that is why only the large companies like Arriva will have a chance to win such tenders and flood the EU with their dull coportate lgo ande color schemes.

The Maltese Bus system has been something unique, it was fun riding these old buses, it gave a colorfull touch to the islands. Unless they keep some for tourist operations and sightseeing, this atmosphere is gone.

Sad, and of course initiated by the EU's stupid intention to level down everything. One day we wake up and eveything looks the same, regardless if you are in Malta or in Finland. Disgusting. If we want that we can go to the USA.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3764 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1734 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 9):
Sad, and of course initiated by the EU's stupid intention to level down everything.

I'd say that "leveling down everything" is not always a bad thing. Low floor buses, for example, make things a lot easier for a lot of people. Public transportation is a necessity for the people of Malta, not just something which Germans and Brits get to enjoy while on holiday.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineB737200 From Malta, joined Feb 2005, 225 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1731 times:

Well I'll add a local perspective.

For starters I drive now so I never use the bus nowadays (actually I had to use it recently when I locked myself out of my car and house but that's another story), however from my past memories: they are truly unique but the constant rattling and uncomfortable ride wears on you after a while. Remember you guys experience them when on holiday, we have to live with them to run errands.

Overall the system will improve I think, especially with the ETA screens that should be going on the bus stops. Yes there is an associated loss but overall the system will be better in my humble opinion. I doubt it will make me give up my air-conditioned vehicle however.

As for the colour, they were actually green before, I remember them when I was younger, before that each route had a different colour, I don't remember that however, think it was before I was born.



Lady Guinness is ready to fly...
User currently offlineoldeuropean From Germany, joined May 2005, 2076 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1712 times:

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
I'd say that "leveling down everything" is not always a bad thing. Low floor buses, for example, make things a lot easier for a lot of people. Public transportation is a necessity for the people of Malta, not just something which Germans and Brits get to enjoy while on holiday.

Imagine, they have to ride these cheesy buses from the 50th and 60th every day. We would hear there rants also every day.

I wonder why we didn't find such buses in the rest of Europe, withdrawn from service long before anyone could have blamed the EU.  



Wer nichts weiss muss alles glauben
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9166 posts, RR: 29
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1694 times:

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
not just something which Germans and Brits get to enjoy while on holiday.

I am sure that there are plenty of Swedes who liked the old buses as well.
Public transportation was excellent in Malta before some anonymous trans European giant took over and Malta is one of the few countries where I really enjoyed riding the public bus system instead of usingrental cars or taxis.

Quoting Doona (Reply 10):
I'd say that "leveling down everything" is not always a bad thing.

Depends on how you look at it. It kills individualism. I once attended a trade show in Rockford IL, waiting at the hotel entrance for the shuttle bus I said to a British journalist who I met before at a couple of venues in other parts of the US
"You never know where you are in America" to which he replied with a very dry "And Why".



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3764 posts, RR: 13
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1659 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 13):
Public transportation was excellent in Malta before some anonymous trans European giant took over

Unless you where in a wheelchair.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9166 posts, RR: 29
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1649 times:

Here we call this a "Totschlagsargument", difficult to translate, killing argument would be best.

I spare my further comment, cheer up, mate.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3764 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1643 times:

I disagree. I'm just saying that people with a lower level of mobility (not just people in wheelchairs, btw) benefit greatly from low floor busses.

And sure, standard Arriva equipment might be a bit boring from an enthusiast's point of view, but when it comes to public transportation, shouldn't whatever provides the greatest benefit to the largest amount of people be the standard? After all, the point of public transport is to be accessible and convenient.

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9166 posts, RR: 29
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1623 times:

Doona, you are completely missing the point. Sorry. The Maltese Bus system was a pittoresque asset of the island like double decker busses in the UK or the Tuk Tuk in Thailand. Another 2 victims of so called modernisation by the way. Here you come, teaching with raised index finger moraline sour Northern European social welfare state morale.

We have been indoctrinated by that life long and I don't need that lecture. I'll likely be missing the yellow and red old Leyland busses on my next trip. Modern busses with handicapped access had been there, IIRC, already on my last trip to MLA.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineGBLKD From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2011, 345 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1601 times:

Quoting Doona (Reply 16):
I disagree. I'm just saying that people with a lower level of mobility (not just people in wheelchairs, btw) benefit greatly from low floor busses.

I don't disagree with your point one bit, having spent 21 years in the industry in the UK I get that times move on and old vehicles wear out. The strides forward in accessible public transport since I started have been fantastic.

The point I was trying to make is that Arriva could have kept the individuality and the livery. Modern equipment is one thing but "assimilating" it into thier bland image is another.


User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26853 posts, RR: 58
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1590 times:

End of an era I used them on my trips to Malta . They were iconic. Hope they keep a few also as they have plenty of life in them yet .

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