Updated 7pm with Transport Malta statement

The application fee for a new Tallinja card will be waived until the end of February, but bus fares for non-card users will increase on Monday, Transport Malta said on Sunday.

It said that this initiative would allow those who did not have a card to apply for one free of charge and start benefitting from free public transport services.

This is part of a series of strategic decisions that are all aimed at increasingly incentivizing the use of alternative transport, the authority said.

It said, however, that non-card users will be charged €2.50 instead of €2 per ticket purchased on the bus with cash or via the contactless payment facility. 

While the seven-day bus card for children will be reduced from €15 to €7, the same card for adults will increase to €25 from €21. A 12-day journey card will increase to €21 from €15. 

The new tariffs come into force on Monday. 

In October 2022, the government started to provide the bus service for free, a measure aimed at raising awareness towards the use of public transport. At that time Malta had become the second country in Europe where public transport was free.

Official statistics show that the number of people who used the bus service in 2023 broke the previous record and reached 67.3 million, a strong increase on the 49.6 million passengers in 2022. Without this service, most of these journeys would have probably been made by private cars.

As from last Monday, the government also started to provide free ferry transport between Sliema, Cottonera and Valletta, including the use of the Upper Barrakka lift.

Those who use this service regularly will save €780 a year.

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