Reforming the urban public transport bus system in Malta: Approach and acceptance


Maria Attard

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, organisation - competition, organisation - governance


Public transport reform, Transport policy, Malta, Bus services


The islands of Malta have joined the European Union in 2004 and have for the past decade suffered a decline in the patronage of its public transport service. Offered under a monopoly by an Association of individual owner drivers, the public transport service has not changed dramatically since its start in the early 1900s. Instead, an organic growth alongside the main routes linking new areas to the public transport network and a declining level of service pushed even more the local population to switch to private mobility. This has classified the islands amongst the countries in the world with the highest levels of motorisation. In 2008, following a general election and a general strike held by the public transport operators over the Government’s intentions to remove monopolies, the new Minister for Transport published his intentions to reform public transport from its roots. This reform included the removal of the monopolies protecting the incumbents as well as developing a new network of services which cater more effectively to the public’s travelling demands. This paper deals with the public transport reform and through direct observation details the processes involved in the regulation of public transport as well as the design of the new public transport network. The paper concludes with the critical factors which led to implementation of the reform and how this is applicable to cities worldwide.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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