Arriva Public Transport – we locals would say the service is a “balbuljata”

Let’s start with the good and tasty bit:

The “balbuljata”:

500g onions, peeled, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
500g tomatoes, peeled, chopped
1 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
50g grated cheese of your choice

In a saucepan, place the onions and olive oil. Stir continuously until cooked. Add the tomatoes and mixed spice. Simmer for a further 10 minutes over low heat.

In another saucepan, beat the eggs and add the cheese. Add to the onion and tomato mixture. Stir and cook quickly until creamy. Do not overcook.

Serve with parsley and fresh crusty bread or toast.

The resulting dish is pretty tasty, but the word “balbuljata” doesn’t only mean this delicious plate for us Maltese, it’s also used to describe when one does a great big muck-up of some simple and straightforward issue. We say “Ghamilt balbuljata” which literally translated means “You’ve just cooked up, not a delicious dish, but a pretty good mess”.

Now on to the serious stuff:


Labour MP Joe Sammut shadow minister for transport presented a motion in Parliament today that calls for the improvement of public transport after the initial fiasco.

The motion notes that the main aims behind the reform of public transport were:
a. To provide a bus service with the most modern and comfortable vehicles possible, as well as reducing the number of buses operating.
b. That the aforementioned new bus service would be of such quality that it would drastically lessen the use of privately owned cars on our congested roads.
c. That this quality would result in a very significant reduction in CO2 emissions with positive effects on our health and the health of our environment.

Sammut argues that the reform implemented on July 3, was 7 months late, and at the height of the tourist season.

It considers that the main advantage so far has been that almost all buses used since the reform have been air conditioned, and that there is more courtesy on the buses.

Joe Sammut notes with disappointment that the reform in general has been chaotic and a let down consumers who still have to face the following challenges including

a. Longer and more complicated routes
b. Long waiting times
c. Higher prices
d. Removal of direct routes to Master Dei
e. Discriminatory pricing systems for EU citizens
f. A new park and ride tax

“So far there has been no drop in private car usage” says Sammut in his motion and that failures can directly be attributed to decisions taken by the Minister, his political appointees in his Ministry and within Transport Malta.

“As a consequence of poor decision making from the above mentioned more expenses will necessarily be incurred by taxpayers to rectify. It notes with disapproval that the reform is not bearing fruit and that consultants with well known connections to this administration, have cost the taxpayer 400,000 and not delivered better routes”.

The motion also mentions the Bisazza Str fiasco that has displayed a clear lack of effective planning that will again cost the taxpayer dear, as well as a loss of car parking for residents and businesses in Sliema.

Above all, after the September 11 deadline elapsed for the solution of basic shortcomings, serious flaws remain, and “the service is not delivering”.

The resolution asks the House of Representatives to condemn the lack of effective planning which has led to this much chaos, demands the immediate publication of all contracts related to this reform, including the consultancy ones. Asks for the resignation of the responsible Minister the political appointees and the heads at Transport Malta who were in charge of the fiasco in planning this reform.

Arriva is a total failure. It increased traffic and congestion on our streets because people who used public transport before cannot the service and are opting to use their private vehicles.

The only person I heard of being satisfied with the current public transport is, very surprisingly, Peter Caruana Galizia. And he’d better be and agree! I wonder how come he doesn’t opt for a flying saucer as a means of transport…


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