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Bus system

Online since: 09. April 2013

Bus system in Malta

In July 2011, the entire bus system in Malta was changed completely. In addition to discarding the iconic yellow buses, some of which date back as far as the 1950s, a new ticket and payment system was introduced at the same time. The bus system is fairly easy to understand. A bus always travels in two directions; in most cases this is either away from Valletta or to Valletta. In front of the town gate of Valletta is a huge roundabout with a large fountain in the centre, where all buses meet. In general, the following routes exist:

  • Mainland routes, which connect most towns with Valletta. (Routes consist of one- or two-digit numbers)
  • Direct routes connect two towns or villages in Malta without driving through Valletta. (Routes consist of three-digit numbers)
  • Night buses run between St. Julian’s or Paceville and various towns in Malta. (They always cost 2.50 Euros per ride and multi-day tickets are not applicable. They run only Fridays and Saturdays from 11 pm until 4 am.) (Routes consist of the letter N and one number)
  • Airport and Cirkewwa Express, which connects the main towns with the airport, and Valletta with the ferry to Gozo in Cirkewwa with a total of four express lines. (Routes consist of the letter X and one number)
  • In Gozo, a total of ten bus lines exist. (Routes consist of a three-digit number)
  • Mater Dei / University routes, which connect various towns with Malta’s largest hospital, Mater Dei. (Routes consist of a three-digit number)

Please note: To pay for your ticket, always have small change with you. Larger bills may be accepted, but this is usually not the case.

Round About in VallettaTicket prices

The new system offers one price for carriers of a Maltese ID card, and another for tourists. The standard two-hour ticket, with which you can also change bus lines, costs 1.30 Euros for the Maltese and 2.20 Euros for visitors. A day ticket costs 1.50 Euros for the Maltese and 2.60 Euros for visitors. In addition, there are multi-day tickets valid for 7 days (6.50 Euros with a Maltese ID card, 12 Euros for tourists). Carriers of a Maltese ID card can also purchase tickets valid for 30 (26 Euros) or 90 days (72 Euros).

Students
Students and pupils between eleven and sixteen years, including those enrolled for a minimum of 3 months at a state approved education institute, receive further discount with the Student Saver Card.

Children
Children aged 0 to 3 years travel free. Tickets for children aged 3 to 10 are sold at a large discount.

Gozo
Different ticket prices apply for Gozo.

You’ll find an overview of all prices at http://www.arriva.com.mt/ticket-type?l=1.

Arriva Saver CardArriva Saver Card

The Arriva Saver Card could also be quite advantageous for you. If you have been living in Malta for quite some time and carry a Maltese ID card, you can apply for the cashless Arriva Saver Card. To apply, download the online application form [external link: Arriva.com.mt] and send the completed form either by email to enquiries@arriva.com.mt or by post to Arriva Malta Ltd, Triq l-Imdina, Ħal Qormi QRM 9010. The processing time is approximately fifteen days and is free. The Saver Card can be charged with multi-day tickets such as 7, 30 or 90 days. After charging your card, you only need to activate it on the first bus ride at a specially-mounted reading device. The card can be recharged online, at one of the 29 ticket machines, at Arriva sales outlets, or via the customer hotline, on 21 22 2000.

How to Buy Tickets

There are 29 ticket machines distributed all over the island. In addition, you can buy your ticket at the sales outlets in the bus station Valletta, the bus station Buġibba, in the arrival hall at the airport, or at the bus station Victoria on Gozo.
It is important to know that you have to raise your hand if you are waiting at the bus station and your desired bus arrives, otherwise the bus will not stop.

Timetables:

The buses in popular tourist areas such as St. Julians, Sliema and Valletta operate every few minutes. There are no fixed timetables for these routes. Less popular routes operate only every 30 minutes or every hour. There is a fixed schedule for these routes; however, it is not indicated in a timetable but in the corresponding minute intervals. If you encounter any problems, ask other people or the bus driver, who will happily assist you.
Route maps including all lines and additional information can be obtained on the bus.

Further information

For more information on the buses in Malta, as well as timetables (routes, prices, multi-day tickets), go to the official website of Arriva: www.arriva.com.mt.

S. Wagner

Further reading on this subject (from our online bookshop):
The Story of the Malta Buses 1931 - 2011
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gozo Map
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Xaghra

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