Updated March 2

Gozitans working in Malta are being left to wait for hours to return home because the current schedule offered by the two fast ferry companies are not providing sufficient trips between 5pm and 7pm.

In a statement, the Association for the Gozitan Employees working in Malta said that both ferry companies – Virtu Ferries Gozo and the Gozo Fast Ferry – were not catering for workers through their latest timetables.

The two fast ferry services, which both offer 45-minute trips between Valletta in Malta and Mgarr in Gozo, were inaugurated on June 1.

“This situation is not acceptable where workers are left to wait for an average of two hours to catch the next available fast ferry or else enter into a higher expense to catch a taxi to Cirkewwa in order to arrive home at a decent hour,” the association said.

According to the latest schedules on the websites and social media pages of the two operators, as from March 1, the evening ferries will leave Valletta at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm.

“It is important to remember that this service was introduced to cater better for the needs of Gozitans workers who work in Malta. Unfortunately, after more than eight months in operation, there are still a number of valid complaints that clearly show that the service is still not addressing in a consistent manner the needs of workers who commute daily,” the association said.

Times of Malta reached out to the two operators for comment. 

Virtu replied later in the day, saying the service is in "its infancy stage" and the operator was trying to "fine tune the schedule to offer the best possible service while ensuring economic viability".

The spokesperson added that it would have resolved most of its departure timing issues in the coming weeks.

Gozo Fast Ferry Ltd. replied two days later, saying it has taken note of the issues raised by the workers' association and working hard to improve its service.

“Over the coming weeks we will be assessing the situation to better understand users’ travelling patterns and demands. We are listening and working hard to ensure this much-needed high-speed passenger service between Valletta and Mġarr can continue to grow,” a company spokesperson said.

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