By bus, Valletta
The Valletta bus terminal is an ever busy roundabout around the Triton Fountain exclusive to the buses in front of the Valletta City Gate.
There are 66 different bus routes going from here. You better get yourself a free copy of the ATP Main Bus Routes for free at one of the four information Offices at the outer edges.
2011 Update: The Malta bus service has been taken over by the Arriva bus company.
Malta was once famous for its colourful old buses. They're gone now. They've been replaced by new boxy Chinese built buses run by the British company Arriva. They are incredibly good value. You can travel anywhere on the island for two hours for just 2.20 euros. You can buy a day ticket for just a little more at 2.60. And an entire week of travelling all over the island of Malta costs just 12 euros. Residents of Malta even get a discount of nearly 50% on these already low prices. Note these prices cover just the island of Malta, and don't cover the ferry to Gozo or the island of Gozo either. You have to buy additional, equally cheap, tickets for Gozo.
The main bus stop is just outside Valletta's city gates. Pretty much all buses run from here, although there are a few exceptions.
Malta have introduced new buses from July 2011 run by Arriva. The old buses which were fun and had character have been replaced by bland modern buses run by Arriva.
The bus service from StJulians to valletta is now a nightmare typically taking up to an hour. It is quicker either to walk direct to Valletta or walk to Sliema ferries and take a ferry across to Valletta.
The problems with the new buses include;
- air conditioned - cold compared with the old buses with windows open and air
- bendy buses too big and therefore take more passengers and take ages at each bus stop (the old buses were smaller but much more frequent)
- record of 9 minutes at Spinola Bay bus stop loading passengers
Take my advice - walk - you will be fitter and get there in the same time!
On our most recent trip to Malta (12 to 19 July 2011) Our base was Qwara, We walked up the main Qwara road which has not changed and over to Buggiba, although not really changed much the old yellow Maltese buses much loved by some (usually the tourists) and hated even feared by others (usually the locals) have been replaced, since 04/07/2011 Arriva are operating the bus service with a new fleet of blue buses. Much more comfortable and with air conditioning so they won't have to drive round with the windows and door open, they even have suspension which many of the older ones were sadly and bone jarringly lacking.
We purchased our 7 day bus ticket from the easy to use ticket machine at the bus station for 12 euro.
The morning after we headed off to the Bus Station at Bugibba to catch the bus to Valetta. It is certainly a good job that we bought our ticket the afternoon before as the que for the bus stations single ticket machine was enormous, nearly the same size as the que for the Valetta bus which was in with the door open but no driver, the new electronic display said it was due to leave at 10:15 though so just 5 minutes to wait though.
Well we waited and after 5 minutes the display changed to 10:25 for the next bus but we were still waiting and the bus was still driver less. A couple of buses came in together going in the other direction but still we waited and our bus with it's door open still was not going anywhere and we were all stood outside it it the sun slowly cooking until 2 number 31 buses came in together followed shortly after by another one great we thought because by now the que was going to fill 3 buses easily!
One bus was parked up with the door shut though and the driver got out of the other one and said he was having his dinner and proceeded to eat his large sandwich in front of a couple of hundred people who by this time were quite hot and quite annoyed. The 3rd bus let it's people of though and we got on that one, the driver with the sandwich relented wrapped it back up and let people on his bus and we were soon after thankfully on our way, it seems that Arriva still have some operating issues here and although early days the old yellow buses would certainly be welcome back at least by the tourists as there were no massive ques last time we came and the buses seemed plentiful enough. Modernisation may be for the better but sometimes it just does not seem that way. The buses are cooler than the old ones though but it seems to me that it would have been easier to leave the bus routes the same as they used to be for the first period as it took a great deal longer to get to Valletta as it used to do and the buses although look great with there route plans on the side so you can tell where they go only really work if that's the route they are actually doing.
We arrived at Valletta's bus station which looks completely different now more modern road marking's, bays for buses with the electronic displays (which have by this time given up displaying arrival departure times and are just stating “buses running at scheduled times” whose times though nobody really seems to know. Maybe the drivers or the people running around with clipboards shouting and waving at buses do? But then again it could be the Arriva staff that have been sent over from the UK to help organise it that have the answers though! I'm sure it will all come together eventually but it does not look like it is going to be soon.
A couple of days later we went to catch the bus from the nearest bus stop, our original plan was to get the bus to either the Airport of Valletta then the bus to Zurriq and walk to Hagar Quim, The airport bus went past without stopping as did 2 number 31's going to Valletta, the one stopped but as the Bugibba but is a loop it was the one going the other way. The next one that came was an old coach with a number 41 written on a piece of card, it had obviously been hired with driver by Arriva to help out. After checking it was going to Valletta we got on that, we already had our tickets but it would not have mattered as because he had no ticket machine he was not charging people anyway.
We arrived at Valletta and decided to change our plans and have another walk around Valletta as the queue's for the buses were long and they are just not reliable at the moment . hopefully they will sort them out soon.
On 3rd July 2011, the current bus network on Malta which is operated by a variety of elderly buses, will be swept away and replaced by a new network of services operated by modern air conditioned vehicles operated by the "Arriva" bus company.
Details of the new network are beginning to be published on the Arriva Malta website - www.arriva.com.mt - including timetables and a network map. There will be four types of services:
- AIRPORT EXPRESS services (numbered X1-X4) which link the airport with Valletta, Rabat, Sliema, St,Julians, Buggibba, Qawra, St.Pauls Bay, Mellieha and Cirkewwa (for the Gozo Ferry);
- MAIN LINE routes (numbered 1-99) which will go to/from Valletta;
- FEEDER LINE services (numbered 101-199) which connect in with the other services at interchange points
- CROSS LINE services 201 and 202 which provide links to some of the tourist attractions such as Rabat and Blue Grotto.
There will also be a new network of services on Gozo numbered 301-399.
The bus terminal is located just outside the City Gate. It is a very large roundabout where you can find lots of buses to various places in Malta.
Each bus doesn't have its destination written on the front, but a number. You had better to know which bus to take (the number!) once you are at the bus terminal. You can get a useful map with the exact locations of the various buses at one of the information booth at the terminal.
Peppin Transport is a full transport service provider with a modern fleet of vehicles consisting of coaches, minibuses, luggage vans, wheelchair lift minibuses and chauffeur driven cars. You can check our prices and book online by visiting www.peppintransport.com . Apart from specialising in Airport Transfers and Taxi Service, we also offer day tours and other flexible transport services for our clients.
We visited every site on Malta using the yellow public busses. As we stayed at the Phoenician the bus terminal was at our doorstep. Every bus goes to Valetta so if you want to see lot's of stuf on the island; Valetta is the easiest starting point to stay. People on the bus will help you for the stop you want, just ask them. Only negative is that traveling between different sites is in most cases only possible by returning to Valletta and hopping on another bus to your other destination. We took the hop on hop off to combine a few vistis and limit traveling back and forth to Valetta.
THE NORTH TOUR
The tour picks you up from your hotel [a city sightseeing minibus]
The double decker bus starts from Sliema ferries at 10.15am.
It drives through Selima, Gzira and ta Xbiex to Valletta bus station where passengers can also get on.
It then goes to Mosta to visit the beautiful church, which you get to visit with a guide.
From there you go to the Ta’qali crafts village and visit a glass blowing centre and a silver jewellery centre.
Next, you visit Rabat where you can get lunch. Then a short walk to mdina and the beautiful walled city.
On the way, back they drop you at your hotel.
The tour lasts about 6 hours.
THE SOUTH TOUR
As with the north tour, you are collected from your hotel and taken to Sliema ferries where the tour starts at 10.15am.
Your first stop is at Valletta where you take a walking tour with your guide. Back on the bus, you visit the three cities stopping at Vittoriosa with a walking tour. Next stop is the Tarxien temples where for 5 euros you can visit the ancient temples. Next stop is marrsaxlokk for lunch. Then after passing the limestone quarries, you go to the blue grotto where you get a chance to go into the grotto on a boat.
The tour then drops you back at your hotel.
You can get tickets for the tours at the ticket booths in Sliema and Valletta, some travel agents [they have a sign in the window], online or from your hotel.
The cost of the tours is-
13 euros adult
9 euros child [5 to 15]
Under 5’s free
If you take the north and south tour, the cost is 15 euros with a free harbour cruise.
The buses in Malta are fast and efficient once you get on one. Buses leave for different towns from different bus stops at the bus station at the triton fountain. People queue for the buses then when the bus comes, everybody piles on from all directions.
The fares are cheap. Most journeys are .47 euros.
There are two information offices at the triton bus station.
Bus timetables are also available in most hotels.
Malta's colourful old buses, there are some newer ones, are a great way to travel around the Island. They are very cheap & quite frequent on main routes. The prices are only a few cents per journey. If you are using them a lot, it may be easier & cheaper to buy a pass.
The buses can get packed at certain times. Travelling on some of the old ones can be a bumpy ride. None of the buses have destinations on them, just a number. It's therefore advisable to get a bus timetable from the driver, tourist information or your hotel. This will help you identify each bus & give you an idea of its frequency. Mine also had a map of the Valletta Bus Terminus, handy as all the buses are parked there in a circle.
If you arrive in Valletta by cruise ship you will realize that your ship is not allowed to operate a shuttle bus due to taxi and bus unions. However a convenient bus service the line 198 operates from the cruise pier to the old upper town. Cost is around EUR 1 each way and tickets can be purchased directly on the pier.
Public buses in Valletta are quite an attraction! All are yellow, most of them older than 35 years, produced in different aprts of the world, having no doors. Those buses are so unusuall, that you have an impression like you're in Cuba or some other undeveloped exotic country.
One way ticket is 25 cents, and you can also take a daily ticket or 2,3,5 and 7 days ticket. Buses are going regulary, every few minutes. Last daily bus leaves at 23:15.
Reaching Valletta by bus is pretty easy as there is the main bus station. Almost all busses go to this bus terminus in Valletta. Most busses go about every 15 to 30 minutes and depending from where you come there are several bus routes that you can take. The bus terminus is well organized, there's a map where you'll find which bus numbers, so that also leaving Valletta by bus isn't difficult.
Valletta bus station is actually the island central bus station. From here you can take bus to every spot on the island and here you will have to come to change bus when travelling between other locations.