Government workers reporting for duty at different hours of the morning, deliveries of goods at night and hospital outpatient appointments scheduled throughout the day are all part of the Transport Minister’s plan to reduce the amount of traffic on Malta’s roads.

In an interview with Times of Malta, Aaron Farrugia lays out his plan to reduce traffic – and suggests a major overhaul of multiple services and activities that have traditionally occurred in the morning, causing huge traffic jams during the rush hour.

Anyone who has lived abroad knows that goods are delivered at night or during the early morning hours- Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia

“If we could stagger services throughout the morning, late at night or before dawn, we can flatten the spike of vehicles that cause a gridlock during rush hour,” he said.

Aaron Farrugia explains his idea. Video: Karl Andrew Micallef

Transport Malta has found that around 70,000 vehicles pour onto the roads every morning because work and school begin roughly at the same time for everyone, as so do hospital outpatient appointments, court hearings, delivery and waste collection activities and several other services.

“It’s the peak hour that we need to space out,” he said.

“Anyone who has lived abroad knows that goods are delivered at night or during the early morning hours, for instance.”

He said this initiative alone would not be enough to solve the traffic problem and must complement a more effective and reliable public transport service, but it could alleviate a significant part of everyday congestion.

“In hospital, for instance, could outpatient appointments be scheduled at different times throughout the day, and not all at once at 7.30am?” he asked.

“We grew up and got used to this culture and it won’t be easy to challenge the status quo, but that is what we need, and that is why I’m here – to start a discussion that will help us decide together.”

During the interview, Farrugia addressed the record number of road deaths and the horrifying death of 30-year-old Pelin Kaya in Gżira on Wednesday, when she was mowed down by a car.

He also fielded questions about public transport, corruption claims at Transport Malta, his assertion that village feasts cause traffic, and whether he aspires to become prime minister.

The full interview will be out in The Sunday Times of Malta print edition. Watch it online on Monday. 

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