SME Chamber

Traffic situation unacceptable – crisis needs immediate action


The traffic situation has become unbearable and unacceptable. The GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs has been inundated by members’ concerns from across widespread business sectors that the alarming situation is not just one of frustration and 
tardiness, but profitability and competitiveness. Justifications
related to infrastructure and discussing long-term possibilities have long expired.
GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs and its members have invested time and resources to consult, discuss
and put forward proposals to the authorities responsible for transport and traffic management.
Proposals that have time and time again been left on the shelf. GRTU’s approach was always to discuss
around the table but this has not achieved anything close to desired results of improvement.
The situation is affecting business across the board and the lack of effective planning and effective
implementation are resulting in each and every one of us paying the price. Chauffeur-driven transport is
choosing not to operate during specific peak times, transport and delivery costs are plummeting due to
inefficiencies caused by heavy traffic, customers are giving up driving to go shopping, and workers are
becoming less efficient per day of work due to time wasted in traffic.
The expectation for drivers and businesses to be patient with the traffic situation and accept the status quo should not even be considered. Tangible actions need to be taken imminently.
GRTU is calling for the authorities to take immediate action. Immediate action points to alleviate the
traffic crisis:
1. Private Collective Transport – Free for all schools, organised transport for all government
employees and immediate outlay of incentives for employers to organise private collective
transport for their own workers.
2. Enforcement Overhaul – Local Wardens and TM Officials need to be brought hand-in-hand with
traffic police. Aim of giving out fines needs to be completely and irreversably replaced with
coordinating and assisting traffic at all times but more surely during peak traffic. Emergency
teams need to be closer to peak areas to immediately address any traffic collisions with
minimum impact on flow of traffic. Smart application of intelligent transport systems such as
traffic lights and screens which are currently either under-utilised, used to fine, or deteriorating
rather than supporting traffic, need to be enhanced and adapted to support and manage traffic
flows . A Crisis Traffic Team needs to be set up to take immediate action, monitor daily if need
be, implement decisions and review decisions according to traffic impact and situation.
3. Change in Attitude for Public works and Closures – Projects with national impact such as the
Kappara Junction Project need to have works undertaken round-the-clock without further
excuses. This project is a major burden on traffic and every hour wasted from its completion is a
disservice to the country. There is so much work that can be undertaken during the night and
weekends to reduce the overall detailed project timeplan, which to date has not yet been
provided to GRTU. Zero allowance of public/maintenance works or part-/full- closures by any
public entity to allow permits during peak hours.
4. Immediate implementation of Car Parks/Park and Ride options – GRTU has been pushing for
under-utilised areas to be used as park and ride zones offering key parking areas and shuttle
service towards hub areas, such as the Gzira Stadium. Car Park development need to be
incentivised and given priority and Planning Authority level.
5. Shift towards staggering hours, online services, work-from-home and flexitime –government has
to lead by example. Departments across the board need to imminently adapt a work-from-home
approach during specific hours and staggering working times of employees. It cannot be
sustainable for everyone to drive towards Valletta at the same time because this is what has
always been done.
GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs is calling for immediate actions that can in any way alleviate or mitigate
traffic. This situation is seriously effecting operation and merely accepting that school has started is not
enough. GRTU shall be seeking to address this matter immediately directly with the Prime Minister.
Issued for immediate release – 8th October 2016

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