WATCH: Why are the Maltese refraining from using public transport?

A researcher who carried out an extensive study has ascertained that although the use of public transport has increased in recent years this increase is mostly attributed to increased use by foreigners who reside in Malta and tourists. She said that local people are still clinging to the use of personal transport and it is no easy matter to try and convince them otherwise and to increase their use of public transport.

Three years ago, Therese Bajada, who is a lecturer and researcher at the Malta University, has concluded a study at Doctorate Level that evaluates the impact of reforms that was carried out in 2011 in the public transport system.

Dr Bajada interviewed Maltese people, foreigners living in Malta and tourists to try and gain their feelings about the public transport system.

Together with problems of time schedules there is also a lack of proper and timely information and these are important in the use of the service.

From her researches Dr Bajada concluded that the increase in public transport is attributed to the increase of foreigners living in Malta and becoming dependent on the use of public transport.

She said the increase cannot be attributed to increased use by the Maltese of public transport while refraining from using their own private transport but to the increase of foreigners residing and working in Malta, as well as by the increase of tourists over the years.

Dr Bajada also observed a degree of rivalry between those drivers using their own private transport and public bus drivers as they competed for road space.

She said there is rivalry in the use of space but this should be available to all because there are those who are vulnerable, there are pedestrians and there are those who use bicycles and these are making a contribution to the environment and included in the pyramid there is public transport and private vehicles.

She said an educational campaign is needed to persuade more persons to make use of public transport. Dr Bajada said it is crucial that the public transport system should be planned over a number of years and there should be more consultation with all involved, including those who use public transport.