Updated - Adds video - Members of the public want Arriva to improve its time-keeping, capacity and bus routes, a public consultation process has revealed.
Half of the 3,500 submissions dealt with one of those three issues, with a further 17 per cent irked by driver behaviour, bus conditions, and Arriva customer care shortcomings.
13 per cent of complaints concerned bus frequency, with 11 per cent pointing out shortcomings in bus stops and bus shelters.
A breakdown of the public consultation figures was presented this morning by Transport Minister Joe Mizzi. He said that the Government would now be meeting with Arriva and relevant local councils to chart the way forward.
“The first step was acknowledging that serious problems existed. Now that we’ve heard from the public, we can now start seeing how they can be tackled,” Mr Mizzi said. He followed that up by reiterating a Government pledge to not raise ticket prices.
The minister was reluctant to lay out a timeframe for changes, saying that while the Government was eager to see things improve as soon as possible, “the priority is ensuring things are done properly”.
Judging by the public consultation statistics, bus routes to Mater Dei Hospital and the University campus suffer from significant punctuality issues, with 14 per cent of submissions. Buses headed to Rabat, Dingli and Mtarfa were also close behind, with 12 per cent of all time-keeping complaints.
Of those who complained about Arriva’s bus routes, one in every three called for the old bus routes to be brought back, though an equal percentage suggested tweaking existing routes.
Several Arriva commuters would like to see more buses heading to Cirkewwa, while 171 people complained about drivers’ behaviour – anything from rudeness to not stopping for passengers and driving while on the phone were all mentioned.
Other complaints concerned the condition of buses, use of bendy buses on routes they were not suited for and the unreliability of real-time information panels explaining bus times.
Meanwhile, Transport Malta has made minor amendments to six bus routes, effective May 26.
Route 13 will be extended past the Institute of Tourism Studies, while 21 will now pass through Rue D’Argens rather than Testaferrata street en route to Sliema.
Route 106 will no longer serve Ta’ Qali or Attard’s Pitkali road, which are already served by routes 202 and 203, and will instead include a direct service from Warda Interchange on Mdina road to Mater Dei.
Route 82 has been extended slightly to include the Freeport roundabout, while route 124 will now also serve Senglea, linking the town to Zabbar and Marsascala.
There will also be a new route – number 237 – which will connect Paradise Bay, Ghadira Bay and Popeye Village every hour in summer.
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