Malta is the smallest European Union member state but has the biggest number of public route buses in relation to its population, figures show.
According to Eurostat’s annual regional yearbook, there are an average 4.4 public transport vehicles for every 1,000 people living in Malta.
“This densely-populated holiday destination is famous for its diverse and often customised buses,” the report authors commented.
The second-highest rate, 4.2 buses per 1,000 inhabitants, was recorded in Romania and the EU average stood at 1.8 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants. For the purposes of the study, vehicles used for public transport include minibuses, mini-coaches, buses and motor coaches able to take more than nine passengers.
Eurostat noted that the data only referred to road transport services, which were also influenced to some degree by the availability of other means of public transport.
These mainly consisted in rail and metro services, often widespread in many of the EU’s larger cities, and also ferry services.
According to the European Union statistics office, the number of buses mirrored the number of privately-owned cars and “in regions where car ownership is relatively low one might expect a higher demand for public transport services”.
This, however, does not seem to be the case in Malta, where, earlier this year, Eurostat recorded the third-highest number of passenger cars per 1,000 inhabitants.
It had found that for every 1,000 inhabitants in Malta, there were 615 passenger cars, about 100 cars more than the European Union average.
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