From 1 October 2022, Malta has introduced a free travel scheme offering free public transport to holders of a personalised public transport card – the 'Tallinja Card' - on day routes, night routes and special services.
The measure is to encourage better use of public transport and to reduce congestion on the roads.
The measure was already announced in 2021 when government presented the budget for 2022, but has been put into action on 1 October 2022 in order to enable the public transport operator to make the necessary arrangements.
Free public transport already existed for 14–20 year olds, student cardholders who are over 20 years old, and concession cardholders who are either disabled or over 70 years old.
The scheme has now been extended - all passengers with a valid personalised Tallinja Card can now enjoy free public transport in Malta and Gozo, and registration for these cards is open to anyone who resides on these islands. Passengers will have to check in with their card every time they board the bus. However, no fee will be deducted and they don’t need to charge their Tallinja Card as long as the balance is not negative.
Not all transport services are included in the Government free public transport scheme. Passengers will still need credit on their personalised Tallinja Card in order to travel on Tallinja direct routes, the Tallinja on demand service, ferry services and other mobility services, such as renting of Tallinja Bikes.
The move towards free transport is expected to increase passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, according to Transport Malta. Currently, people pay for their trips using the credit held on their Tallinja card, at the rate of €0.75 per journey. Alternatively, they pay the bus driver in cash or by credit card at the rate of €2 in summer and €1.50 in winter. A typical commuter, using the bus twice a day between Monday and Friday would be saving €7.50 a week or €390 a year. In addition, by catching the bus, the number of cars on the road and the level of congestion will be reduced, along with the corresponding air and noise pollution that is brought with them, emphasises Transport Malta.
More information on Malta’s free public transport is available here.
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