So, got started on the Nov 6th updates. I welcome the usual errors being spotted!

Some questions…

 24 does it go as far as st julians  
81 does it go into zejtun  
91/92 which one goes via zonqor  
101/102 which one goes to selmun  
117/118 airport/Zurrieq loop  
122 does it go to the hospital  
123 confirm route  
130-133 all now one route as the 133?  
204 does it exist?

cheers!

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With a number of corrections and updats sent in, I seem to be getting the map back into an image which makes sense as a whole.

With that in mind, I have taken minor liberties with reality – for example the 84 doesn’t follow the exact line of the other 80’s buses out of Valletta – but the simplicity of implying that it does, versus the impact on taking the bus makes it worth it – as an overview, its only meant to be a start point for getting a bus in the rigth direction!

Im waiting for a few things to settle down before fixing them which I know are outstanding.

  • What goes round St Thomas’ Bay and what doesn’t
  • Where the 124 goes at all – the timetable and the map on Arriva don’t match
  • The Magical Mystery X23 express from Bugibba to Golden Bay, for which no information exists – I suspect this short term fix will morph into an official “summer only” service.

I have merged together all the routes which I think run from Marsa Park and Ride up the Hamrun bypass and straight to Mater Dei or the University, without doing anything different along the way. Its a break from the previous layout standard but I imagined how it would look if you twisted multiple electrical cables together and it certainly has freed up a lot of space. To be consistant I should do the same from Valletta to Bombi but I dont want to. Ill have a think.

I expect the following errors have crept in.

  1. The routes of the 22/32
  2. Stopping points around Kappara, Sqwieqi, Ta Giorni
  3. Stopping points in Santa Venera

All comments welcome!

The new map is nearly ready but its going to take a lot of checking – the timetable information has basic errors.

E.g Clicking on the arriva website for “33/34” pops up  a timetable marked “32/33” if you click on the “33” ( I didnt think there even was a “33”. ) and “22/34” if you click on the “34” bit.  Clicking on “22/32” gives you details for “22/34”  under “22” and “32/33” under “32”.

I hope you are confused becuase I am.

If you are old fashioned and prefer printed material why not try the new timetable guide. Choosing the very first route – 24,  it is marked “pembroke to ta giorni” but it doenst terminate at either, or even go, as far as I can work out, to pembroke.

Or you might prefer the adverts for the latest news, where wierd inconsistancies and layouts abound, but I cant tell you about them becuase I threw the paper away rather than bore you any more.

What on earth is going on? How can so many basic errors (I wont know about the subtle ones) be getting through ?

So, the bus routes are changing again on October 3rd – but I cannot find any information on the Arriva website – does anyone know the where I can find route information of the following new and amended services – 120,210,213,250,135,204,226,209.

Thats right, 4 days to go, and no timetable information on the arriva website – unless you spotted it somewhere.

I arrived at Malta Airport this morning  – last time I came in by air Arriva had been running 5 days so it was interesting to see the difference. In fact the actual service was the same as last time – fine, but for a new service just about fixed I would observe……

  • No overview of routes and destinations, no maps, no ticket instructions
  • Cars parked all over the bus stop allocated lanes
  • Ticket machine on bus fitted but not working
  • No A/C that I could detect on the bus.
  • Buses werent stopping at the bus stopped marked for that bus – I saw a woman waiting patiently at the X4 stop with a suitcase, a good 80 yards from where the bus did stop.
  • Route information on side of buses bear no relation to actual route
  • Paper route numbers on the dashboard
  • Bus numbers marked on stops didnt reflect the changed bus service.
  • The only actual information was tiny printed summary timetables under each bus stop for certain routes only.

So, a good, if haphazard service, and helpful staff ( four of them, four!) at the bus area, but hopeless, hopeless usage information. For a new service its inexcusable, for a new service in a country which depends on a constant stream of new customers (the tourists) its madness, for bus stops where new customers are likely to first arrive, (an airport)  its just hopeless, inexcusable madness. Why is the information so bad? Its basically just like the old days, where you are supposed to just know, by some sort of cultural osmosis, how the buses work.

As for the route, I don’t want to get into those disucssions as you can’t please everyone, but the dog leg involving 5 right hand turns to do a loop inside the marsa park and ride seems a complete waste of time. None of the turnings are easy for a bus, and I can understand the routing of buses via the park and ride, but do they really have to go round and round inside the car park instead of along the outside and straight through. It must have added 3-4 minutes to the ride – it all adds up.

I got arriva’s new timetable through my letterbox this morning, so I’ve updated the map with what is shown on that.

I hope Arriva/Transport Malta know what they are doing. When the timetables were first unveiled the numbering for the Valletta direct routes made a sort of logic – they were clumped by number in groups of 10 ( i.e. 51,52,53) which all went in more or less the same direction and sub-divided, and as the bus routes fanned out of Valletta they more or less incremented – (30’s, 40’s 50’s) as they as they followed the spokes of the main routes out into the Island.

The new bus numbers break this logic – and unless the old routes have been changed as well ( which I cant tell because arriva wont keep their website up to date ) we are already, two months into the new routes, getting into a bit of a mess. The 80’s buses now divide and rejoin all over the place, and the new 33/34 has little to do with the other 30’s buses.

Im not saying the buses should not be adjusted to go to where people want to travel, but the idea of grouping buses by general destination, like in the old days when the buses were different colours, is a good one.  It should be possible to understand the core route by saying “if it starts with a ‘6’ it goes to Sliema as part of its route’.

In the rush to adjust the network this carefully designed system seems to be forgotten about – with more changes like this the pattern will quickly collapse and be very hard to put back.