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Malta By Bus

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Feb 17th, 2012, 03:54 PM
  #1
plr
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Malta By Bus

I've lost track of where I've read certain things, but know that I've seen mixed reviews re whether to rent a car or use the bus system for solo touring. I'll be primarily visiting archeological sites, and am leaning in the direction of the buses so I can not have to worry about parking and can take whatever amount of time I want at each site. However, it seems actually to be a shot in the dark. How often do the public buses (not the hop on hop off buses) frequent all the sites? And I have been absolutely unable to google a current bus schedule for the new bus system! There is a link for a colorful diagrammatic map which makes me crazy to look at, and so not much help. Please repeat your opinions about pros & cons of using the buses, and whether you know of a schedule I can look at ahead of time.
Thanks--
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Feb 17th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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What's the new bus system? I can't believe Malta would give up those buses and get a system - LOL

If you want my opinion on the buses look at your other thread.

I don't understand your question. The frequency depends on the bus. It's not like the buses are all on the same schedule.

http://www.atp.com.mt/atp/servlet/Co...=directService
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Feb 17th, 2012, 04:19 PM
  #3
plr
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Ah yes, Adrienne. Thanks. I've been reading several forums though only posting here. My question about frequency was clearly addressed in the link you post here, though I see no indication of what year this is for. There has been apparently been a re-vamping of the buses as well as the entire system over the past year or so, if I understand correctly. And I am not finding a current schedule.
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Feb 17th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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You could try e-mailing them with your questions. The e-mail address on the website adrienne linked to is: [email protected]
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Feb 17th, 2012, 09:22 PM
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I can't believe anyone could get the Malta bus drivers to use a set system. They have their own code and their own schedule, no matter what is on the printed schedule. Some of those rides were not for the faint hearted!

I think you're expecting too much of Malta. It sounds like you want German efficiency and you're not going to get it on Malta.

Use the schedule that is posted on the site that talks about the new system.

http://www.arriva.com.mt/mainline-bus-routes

Maybe you should rent a car.
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Feb 17th, 2012, 09:53 PM
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We used buses to get around all over Malta and the only issue I can recall is having to wait for a bus, but that's what you do with public transport. We didn't have to wait that long and could have grabbed a taxi if necessary. If you have a car it can be more convenient but there are downsides as well, such as finding your way, potential of accidents, cost of petrol, cost of car hire, parking issues, etc. I'm pretty sure you won't be able to drive into Valletta.

On Gozo we hired a jeep as I'd read that the buses are much less frequent but on Malta we went all over the place as well as all the historical sites (we had about 10 days on Malta and 5 on Gozo) and were happy with the buses. One thing you should know is they all operate out of Valletta, the bus station is right outside the city walls. So if you are staying somewhere other than Valletta, you'll have to get a bus to Valletta first, then a bus to where you are going.

Kay
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Feb 18th, 2012, 06:41 AM
  #7
plr
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No Adrienne, I have no expectation for precision timing...I think you may be mis-reading the intent of my questions. I simply want to know whether buses go from point A to point B, and whether I'd have to wait half a day to get from point B to point C; whether I'd spend half of each day returning back & forth to Valetta from every single site, etc. Seems like a pretty reasonable thing for me to be asking, I think. If it would be impossible to coordinate well, then I'd rent a car. OK?

Thanks for your detailed response, KayF--very helpful!--and I believe I am persuaded to not rent a car. What's the cost of gas now in Malta/Gozo?

By the way Adrienne, thanks for the schedule/map link. I absolutely could not find that page when I googled. And I think I will also email them--thanks for the address, walkabout.
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Feb 18th, 2012, 06:49 AM
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The buses may leave the origin point on time but can be early at intermediary stops. If you're at a bus stop on time you may have missed the bus.
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Feb 18th, 2012, 08:48 AM
  #9
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Thanks for the heads up on that, Adrienne.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 03:01 PM
  #10
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Just noticed on Gozo.com that they say getting around Gozo by public bus "can be tricky"--and they clearly recommend car rental instead. Any comments?
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Feb 20th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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Laugh out loud, all right. I enjoyed the Maltese on a visit a few years ago with the exception of the bus drivers, who certainly needed revamping.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 04:46 PM
  #12
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Not sure how to interpret your reply, Southam. Can you add a little more explanation?
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Feb 21st, 2012, 01:22 AM
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Before our trip to Malta and Gozo, I had read that bus transportation on Gozo was more limited than on Malta and buses were not as regular. For this reason we hired a jeep, which seemed to be a common mode of transport on Gozo. On Malta we found the buses to be fine. I think each bus is owned by the driver and some have small decorations or names on them, showing pride in ownership I guess. This was a few years ago now and all the buses were around 50's vintage but in good repair with new paint jobs etc, but that old look.

I wouldn't have any trouble relying on the buses on Malta, loads of locals use them as well. The only thing that may be annoying, if you are not staying in Valletta, is that all bus routes start and end in Valletta, sort of like the spokes of a wheel. We loved staying in Valletta so it didn't affect us but if you were staying in another town and wanted to get somewhere, you'd have to go via Valletta.

Kay
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Feb 21st, 2012, 03:43 PM
  #14
plr
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Thanks, Kay. Did you arrange the jeep rental prior to your trip or upon arrival? And did you have any trouble getting from ferry to the car rental on foot in Gozo?
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:35 AM
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Hi plr, we booked the jeep from home and they offered to meet us at the port on Gozo where the ferry comes in, we all drove to their office which was nearby and we filled in the paperwork, showed our licences etc. It worked really well and on the return journey, we stopped at their office, picked up one of the men who worked there and he came with us to the port, where we gave him the keys and we caught the ferry back to Malta. We used http://www.mayjocarhire.com/

We did arrange a transfer from the port in Malta back to the airport while we were on Gozo, with the same car hire company. They do transfers as well. We had intended to get the bus back from the port to the airport (via Valletta) but the bus was quite crowded when we were headed to Gozo and there was barely room for our luggage so we figured this was a better option. It was certainly a lot more comfortable and we were surprised how reasonable the price was.

Kay
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 02:48 AM
  #16
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It's been some time now, but I got all around Malta by public transportation with no problem; I just did one day in Gozo on a jeep tour. Here's a thread to give you some idea of what I was able to do with no car: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-100-best.cfm

I really, really enjoyed Malta; history is soaked into the stones.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 02:53 AM
  #17
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Oh, and for a bit more orthodox version, here's my little trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...all-report.cfm As I said, it's been a while--didn't realize it was that long ago, to be honest; Malta definitely stays with you.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 12:49 AM
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I have to agree with Amy. Malta is a special place which few people seem to visit. The history is quite amazing and we found the people friendly and welcoming. We hope to go back one day.

Kay
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 04:28 PM
  #19
plr
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Kay and Amy, you've been so helpful with all the details! Thanks. Enjoyed your trip report, Amy, and feel very reassured about not renting a car on Malta, though perhaps I will do so on Gozo.
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Feb 24th, 2012, 04:59 PM
  #20
plr
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Been thinking a lot about all the options, and re-considering what I might do.

When I fly into Malta at mid afternoon, brain-dead from jet-lag--I think I want to go directly to Gozo, check into a hotel and do nothing until the next day.

What is the "best & most economical" way for me to get from the Malta airport (no rental car and on foot, with 1 piece of luggage, a backpack and a small bag) to the ferry for Gozo--and then from the ferry port in Gozo to my hotel? Are these transfers frequent and reliable? Is there a lot of coordination needed to connect with the ferry? And since I'm not a spring chicken--no major walking with all my luggage?
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