Fabian Demicoli

GRTU meets Arriva

 Arriva takes over the bus service in Malta and Gozo on July 3. GRTU represents the majority of retailers and traders with establishments in commercial centres. Most of these businesses depend on the traffic of consumers and that they reach these destinations by public transport means.

 

Unfortunately many Maltese had for years given up on public transport so they become increasingly reliant on private cars. The cost per household of purchase, use, maintenance and parking fees is absorbing too high a proportion of household's disposable income so an efficient public transport is not only essential to make commercial centres more popular but is also important for its income effect and the impact on the households` funds disposable for consumption.

GRTU agreed with Arriva to help in the smoothing out and finding solutions in issues that arise. Vince Farrugia acknowledged this should be a positive step. "We have no choice. This has a direct impact on Household income and connectivity, two aspects which have for years been neglected. Arriva has a tremendous marketing task as they come at a time where public transport is looked at adversely by public opinion". Concluded Vince Farrugia.

During a meeting held for the Valletta business owners on Thursday 2nd June 2011 Mr Keith Bastow, Managing Director of  Arriva Malta informed that the company has now embarked on an information campaign since it will be working on completely new routes and times.

Mr Bastow said that although there may be similarities to the current routes, Malta will have a completely different network with three main bus stations – in Valletta, Bugibba and Victoria. The system will have 27 interchanges, which are bus stops serving more than one route.

Mr Bastow said that the Valletta main line routes will be numbered under 100 and those linking other towns and villages above. New services include four airport express routes, night buses between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday all year round in some areas with extra days and additional routes in summer. Mr Thomas Dimech, Commercial Director, informed that the company is currently sending out to all households a comprehensive guide of the new services, including bus routes, their frequency and a network map showing all the routes.  He also informed that a website has been launched  with timetables and route maps, http://www.arriva.com.mt/. A journey planner will also be launched in the coming days providing more information about the destination, times and action plan.

Roadshows are  being held in towns and villages and a  customer care call centre will be available seven days a week from 7 am. to 9 p.m. 21222 000.

The system will have a wide range of tickets, including the Arriva Saver Card for frequent users. Holders of Maltese ID cards will benefit from discounted travel – a two-hour ticket will cost €1.30, a day ticket €1.50, and a seven day ticket €6.50.

The day service will be offered between 5.30 a.m.-11 p.m. and there will be summer and winter timetables with peak and off-peak hours. As a first for Malta, timetables will be published in line with internationally recognised standards. These will be available at bus stops and on the website and they will be easy to use.

A 30-day saver ticket is €26 and a 90-day saver is €72. Gozitans can purchase a 30-day Gozo ticket for €10. Moreover, if they have a ticket for Malta they can use it for free travel in Gozo. There are also child fares, KartaAnzjan rates and student discounts.

Mr Bastow said that Arriva is ready to exchange views with GRTU and avaluate its proposals. He also added that despite all achievements, all would fail if the public did not take on their part of the deal and start to plan their future travel needs with the aid of the facilities being made available.

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