A trackless tram proposed by the Nationalist Party will not take up a lane of existing traffic on arterial roads, a party spokesperson said on Wednesday, contradicting a statement made by his colleague three days ago.
PN transport spokesperson and candidate Toni Bezzina told a press conference that the party’s mass transportation plans would not occupy any existing lanes of traffic.
“I would like to make it clear: we never said that we will be reducing existing lanes of traffic,” Bezzina said, adding that the trackless tram route map had been intentionally designed to avoid certain areas specifically for that reason.
“We didn’t run it to Żurrieq, behind the [Kirkop] tunnels, specifically to ensure that we will not reduce lanes of traffic. What we will do is better administer existing lanes, to keep the existing number of lanes while also adding a dedicated [tram] lane,” Bezzina said.
His statement directly contradicts an explanation provided by his colleague Ryan Callus during a Broadcasting Authority event aired on national TV on Tuesday.
Quizzed by journalists on the trackless tram proposal Callus had said the tram would run on arterial and distributor roads and will have a dedicated lane.
He, however, admitted that the tram “will take up one of the lanes” because no additional or agricultural land will be taken up to widen roads.
Callus said this will not create more traffic congestion, because it will be so efficient that people will want to ditch their cars for it, thus drastically taking vehicles off the road.
Speaking on Friday, Bezzina said the tram would be operational by the end of the legislature and was more efficient than Labour’s metro proposal, apart from costing €3 billion, which is half the cost of the metro. It will have six lines covered a total of 173 kilometres from Birżebbuġa to Ċirkewwa, will have nine hubs, three interchanges and 27 stops.
Comparing the tram and metro proposals, Bezzina said the tram will cover 48 localities as opposed to the metro’s 20, will run on clean energy and will not produce anything close to the 10 million cubic metres of waste which the tunnelling for the metro is expected to produce.