The Maltese Islands are beautiful and picturesque, which is no surprise that many tourists flock here.
It’s said that over 2.5 million tourists come to experience everything Malta has to offer.
Yet, with even more holiday-makers visiting Malta… thankfully there is a fleet of buses in Malta to transport tourists and the locals around.
But if you haven’t used the bus system in Malta yet, keep reading for some helpful information.
Getting On And Off The Buses
One of the first things we noticed when we set foot in Malta, was that there were lots of buses. The main ones which are green and white colour, with air conditioning look like this…
Many of the Malta buses have two doors… one at the front and one in the middle. So generally you get on at the front and exit from the middle door.
Plus, at the front of the bus is where you tap your bus pass or buy your ticket. Having the correct money or smaller change is more helpful than handing over a 100 Euro bill!
So on a few bus trips, we’ve seen people get on through the middle door… which is supposed to be for exiting. And when the bus gets packed, you won’t have a chance to get through the tightly packed crowd and buy your ticket.
So the bus driver stops the bus, and will wait for those people to get off. As a tourist who may have no idea about this… eventually a local will tell you that you have to get off!
And don’t expect the buses in Malta to loop around either. For example, we caught bus 222 at the stop before the Sliema Ferries stop. Then 1 stop later at the ferries, the bus driver said “last stop” and told us to get off.
We then thought the bus would then start it’s route again, but it changed routes!
So thankfully he told us, where to catch the bus we needed.
Hold On Tight
There’s no other way to describe it, but some of the bus drivers go round corners like they’re Formula 1 drivers!
Even as pedestrians we had to be super careful crossing the road… Because a Malta bus could come screaming down the road or around the corner!
So, when you’re on the bus, make sure you hand on tight even if you’re sitting sometimes.
Also, we noticed on several trips the bus would make sudden stops. And this could’ve had people flying through the bus, or even topple over.
So, if you don’t have a seat and are standing, be aware of unexpected sudden stops! As the last thing you want is to injure yourself and ruin your trip.
Buses Run By Malta Time
You’re probably asking what do I mean by this?
After a couple of days in Malta, we realized how casual and laid back the Maltese people were. Plus, we noticed some congestion on the road while we were traveling.
And at most bus stops there’ll be a timetable for when the buses will arrive. Yet, use the timetables as a guide because sometimes they can be early or late.
And this could be as a result of the casual “Malta Time, ”traffic jams, or other unforeseen circumstances.
So, most of the time we didn’t have a fixed schedule… or we didn’t need to be anywhere by a specific time. Therefore, we hardly planned anything by the bus schedule.
But, if timing is important to you, then read this next tip…
In the height of Summer, Malta gets super busy. While there are many bus routes, be wary that on some routes the buses may only run hourly.
For example, when we were staying at Hotel 1926 in Sliema… we were planning to go to Rabat and Mdina.
From Sliema, we could catch the 202 bus, which goes straight to Rabat. Yet, we did find out that they only run hourly. And as I mentioned earlier, sometimes the buses don’t run according to what’s on the schedule.
So if you don’t want to be waiting for hours… see what other options for getting to your destination.
Plus, if the bus is full, the driver isn’t going to stop to take on more passengers. So they don’t jam people on the buses like they do on the trains in Japan.
This happened a couple of times on our bus trips through Malta… and we saw some people waving their arms in anger at the driver because the bus was full.
Yet, it’s not the bus driver’s fault.
Don’t Mess With The Bus Driver
Stand behind the yellow line if you’re at the front of the bus. And if you don’t notice it, the bus driver will let you know!
In Summer, especially during peak times, the traffic can get congested. You’ll also see 2 big buses trying to get through tiny streets!
So, some of the bus drivers may fire up and display some road rage. And we saw several road rage incidents… including another bus driver slapping the side of our bus.
So this was because our bus was trying to push through, yet they would’ve collided if he kept going.
Plus, we loved this one… On a but trip to Mosta, we had an animated bus driver who wasn’t afraid to speak up. Then at one stop, a passenger had pressed the button to get off at the next stop.
Yet, a couple of his friends weren’t sure if they would get off at the same stop. So this young guy started walking off the bus, then back on, back off and back on!
And needless to say, our bus driver came out of his cubicle. Then he yelled at the passenger about if he was staying or getting off the bus… and yelling out a few other things!
That passenger got off quick smart. Then the funny thing was, the bus driver was talking to the rest of us about what an idiot he was! So after that debarcle we were off on our route to Mosta.
So hopefully these tips are helpful for when you catch the buses in Malta!
How were your experiences with the Malta buses? Do you have any stories or tips you’d like to share?
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