From 1st June onward a direct passenger service from Mġarr Port to the Grand Harbour
Following many years of promises and demands in the past, in less than 30 days a new transport service will begin operating to convey passengers between Malta and Gozo . . . a fast ferry service between Mġarr Port and the Grand Harbour.
So far two transport operators have responded to the call by Transport Malta and will begin their operations on 1st June. The Authority is striving to ensure that by that time mooring facilities as well as passenger facilities will be assured.
Minister Ian Borg explained to Television Malta that this service will enable the public to utilise a chain of alternatives to the use of private transport.
Part of the Ta’ Liesse Wharf in the Grand Harbour that is below road level and a zone at Mġarr Port in Gozo have been identified as locations where operators of this service can moor and discharge passengers. The Transport Malta Chairman, Joe Bugeja, explained that work is on hand for all the infrastructural works to be completed in time. Among the conditions stipulated by TM for the provision of a licence is that vessels used have been certified as suitable, that each vessel is able to carry 250 passengers and the voyage has to be completed with 45 minutes.
He said that two operators with three vessels have registered their interest to begin operations on 1st June. Meetings are continual ongoing with these operators for services to be coordinated. At this stage there will be one mooring facility in Gozo and one in Valletta and efforts are being made to ensure logistics and to assure the need of passengers.
Speaking to Television Malta, Minister Borg said the Government is not considering this service in sole consolidation but there is a whole infrastructure so that when passengers disembark they are provided with different means to their actual destinations. Those whose destination is Valletta will be able to use the Upper Barrakka lift.
Works are being carried out on a pedestrian walkway to the lift as well as to public transport facilities.
The TM Chairman, Joe Bugeja, spoke of the arrival of the service at Ta’ Liesse Wharf and said that on arrival there will be direct public transport faculties to the Junior College, University, Mater Dei Hospital and MCAST. Sea voyages to Cottonera will also be available as well as free transport to other Grand Harbour localities on the other side of Valletta and from Marsamxett to connect with ferries to Sliema. Gozo services will be styled in a similar manner.
Asked about the price of use of such facilities, Joe Bugeja said this is not a matter for TM to decide.
The two operators that have publicly expressed their interest to operate this fast ferry service are Virtù Ferries and Gozo Fast Ferry – but yet to make known their voyage schedules and fares.