Taxis and Transport in Malta
Discovering the Maltese islands using public transport can be quite the adventure. The main methods of public transport are buses, taxis and ferries.
Whether you place on living in Malta or just coming on a holiday getting around Malta and Gozo is pretty easy, and there are numerous options open to you. Naturally, it depends on whether you value the convenience and luxury of a private car vs the budget-friendly value of the public bus system.
Taxis in Malta
If you want to easily explore the island in the comfort of an air conditioned taxi, it’s best to use a minicab company instead of flagging down a cab on the street. Companies like Hicabs, Ecabs or Wembley Taxi Services are convenient and once you start to live in Malta you will realise and build a relationship with one of the firms to pick you up and drop you off virtually anywhere in Malta. They’ll help you save some money compared to the steep prices charged by the white taxis that occupy most tourist zones. Prepare to do a little haggling if you’d like to negotiate a better price. You do find some white taxi cabs that are reasonable but prepared to negotiate. Use a mini-cab service first than you will be able to negotiate knowing the market prices.
Buses in Malta
In October 2014, the Maltese government commissioned ‘Autobuses Urbanos de Leon’ to take charge of the bus routes. Its predecessor, Arriva, failed to live up to expectations but the situation has vastly improved as of late. Despite a few hiccups along the way, the Spanish company has restored people’s faith in the local bus system.
If you want to make your way around the island using this system, purchasing a bus card (known as a ‘Tal-linja Card’ locally) will allow you to hop on and off any bus for only 75c, the cheapest rates from across the EU. You can easily top up your bus card online, at a MaltaPost outlet or via mobile phone, but you will need a local ID card to do so. The bus routes are vast and are mostly frequent (every five minutes) unless you are located in the boonies when you will probably have a trip within every thirty to forty minutes, which is still not too bad. All buses end up with their last stop in Valletta and at times you may have to take a second bus outgoing to your destination.
The system is very organised and convenient and all buses are equipped with air-conditioning. Many expatriates, locals and residents in Malta utilise the service and are very satisfied.
Ferries in Malta
What could be better than hopping aboard a boat to get to your destination of choice? Well, there are numerous ferries in operation around Malta and Gozo, but they are still quite limited. For a small fee, you can travel to and fro from Cirkewwa to Mgarr (Gozo), The Three Cities (Senglea, Cospicua, Vittoriosa) to Valletta and from Sliema to Valletta. Many people commute to work from Sliema Ferries to Valletta on a daily basis.
You may also get on a scheduled boat ride to visit the Blue Lagoon from Cirkewwa.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Buses in Malta
For those interested in the scenic route, double-decker sightseeing buses and coaches are available for open top tours. Commentary in various languages is available for visitors eager to learn about the rich history of the Maltese Islands. In Malta, the open top buses depart from the Sliema Ferries, with customers choosing between a tour of the north or a tour of the south, while, in Gozo, tours are available from Mgarr Harbour to all the major tourist spots. Night tours are also available on certain days. You can hop on and off at different places, making it ideal if you want to learn about different parts of the islands.
As for something a little different, well… Electric taxis and horse-drawn carriages are both popular in the capital, Valletta. You’ll just need to keep your eyes peeled to find one!
Once you have bought a property or rented a home in Malta and have settled in, the above will all become a natural means of transport. If you will be leasing a car or bringing over your own means of transport it is always nice to take a look at Malta from a different perspective and there is no other way than taking the public route.
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