Maltese are the most dissatisfied public transport users in Europe, according to the European Commission’s datacollection arm.

Figures published as part of a comprehensive Eurobarometer study on public transport yesterday showed Maltese were upset with nearly every facet of the service.

The negative scorecard contrasts sharply with the rosy picture painted by Transport Malta’s report earlier this week. On Tuesday, the regulator reported that Arriva had an all-time high level of patronage in its last year of operation.

Not only that but the report said the Anglo-German company had achieved a 90 per cent punctuality rate before leaving the island after it reached a deal with the government to end the 10-year concession it had acquired in 2011.

Dissatisfied with the state of bus shelters, seats, sun shades and other amenities

Eurobarometer, however, found that Maltese were among the least satisfied when it came to reliability, punctuality and frequency of the service, describing Maltese as “by far the most negative about public transport”.

Maltese were the most likely (16 per cent) to feel very dissatisfied with regularity of buses and the most likely (26 per cent) to feel the same about punctuality.

The Transport Malta report, on the other hand, said the average route punctuality had hovered around the 90 per cent mark during Arriva’s last year in service, the highest since 1990.

The main thing to irk locals according to the EU report was not how long they had to wait but where they did it. More than one in four said they were very dissatisfied with the state of bus shelters, seats, sun shades and other amenities provided as part of the public transport service.

Unlike the rest of the findings, this does seem to tally with the local findings, which highlighted meeting contractual obligations as among Arriva’s main downfalls.

Transport Malta said Arriva had failed in 42 per cent of on and off board inspections.

Despite Transport Malta’s report indicating that more people were using public transport, the island still had among the highest number of people who completely avoided using buses.

A whopping 37 per cent said they never used public transport at all, the third highest in Europe.

Of those who did use the service, a quarter said they did so at least once a week, the fourth lowest among the 28 member states.

Not even students used the service that much; Maltese were the least likely to use the bus to get to the classroom, with just 22 per cent getting on board last year.

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