Fabian Demicoli

GRTU urges Arriva to reconsider on Bisazza Street

The statement by Keith Bestow, Managing Director of Arriva, on Bisazza Street Sliema is not only arrogant to the extreme but in very bad taste. Many people have been involved in this pedestrianisation project of Bisazza Street and many of us, including GRTU, had to suffer much unfair criticism for supporting this project as the concept of pedestrianised zones in commercial centres is still not widely understood and accepted.


Almost a million Euros of public moneys have been spent and the private sector is investing heavily to upgrade the services in the area and the project has now the support of the Sliema Community and the public in general. It is inconceivable that a just declared pedestrianised zone be immediately made to suffer, even temporarily, any motor traffic, worst of all a steady flow of busses.

The technical issue Arriva mentioned as the reason for causing them to dare public opinion and proceed with their original plan is not insurmountable. Government has already promised additional public moneys to help the Bus Monopoly to cover the costs and it is the responsibility of Arriva now to resolve the problem before the launch of the new public transport service. It is their problem and they should not dump it on the public.

The logistics of the effect of closing Bisazza Street is also not insurmountable as the alternative rout exists and any technical arrangements can still be managed with the few weeks that remain. GRTU sees the issue as one of management and Arriva must now prove that they are capable of resolving such a hiccup. The closure of streets for periods of time will reoccur and it can't be believed that if a part of the network needs re-routing that the whole system dysfunctions. GRTU expects a better and more professional public relations attitude by Arriva. GRTU also believes that this is also an issue for Government. The pedestrianisation of Bisazza Street has been on the cards for months. How is it possible that one part of Government responsible for transport management and the other part of Government responsible for public projects had such a poor relationship not to have smoothened out the matter without disturbing the public?

GRTU is stating very clearly, that Bisazza Street is now a pedestrianised zone. Buses should not now be allowed to pass through this pedestrianised zone, even temporarily. GRTU will support all action that ensures that what the majority now accept as an irreversible fact will not be thwarted by the arrogance and pretentions of Arriva. GRTU has publicly wished Arriva all the success it deserves as GRTU has from the initial stages supported the privatisation and complete overhaul of the new public bussing service as it is vital for commerce and for better traffic and environmental management.

On this issue however GRTU believes Arriva is erring and erring very badly and it should therefore without much ado bow its head to the opinion of the vast majority of the public on whose support Arriva's success further depends. GRTU augurs that this issue is resolved in the next few days.

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