Investment in sustainable and efficient public transport services is a fundamental component of Malta’s transport approach, as referenced in the National Transport Strategy 2050 (NTS) and the Transport Master Plan 2025 (TMP). With intensive investment in our transport infrastructure, and services to be delivered over decades, our country should benefit from positive long-term high-level living standards, economic growth, high environmental quality, and climate change initiatives. As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “vision, humility and endurance are the keys that open the door of the way”; in our case the way for a major and revolutionary mass transport system: the metro.
During these last years, road infrastructure in Malta has been revolutionised beyond our expectations and its success can be attributed to an ever-growing economy, even during tough times such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Controlling vehicle emissions is key to meeting future international climate obligations. Whilst the ongoing upgrading of Malta’s road network, by means of various infrastructural projects, is intended to address short to medium-term road congestion issues identified in the Malta Transport Plan 2025, also agreed to by the European Commission, an underground mass transport system would introduce a new way of travelling that would address Malta’s road congestion issues in the longer term.
Moving from the micro to the macro, it is imperative to take the long view now; for now is the time to prepare our infrastructure for the coming 2030s, 2040s and 2050s. Now is the time to think and plan outside the box. Now is the time to dream and to get our plans right, so that when these future decades are upon us, our country will not suffer because of ineptitude and wishful thinking that challenges can go away and problems can solve themselves.
In this context, an intensive, professionally-consulted study regarding the possible implementation of a mass transport system was conducted, pivoted on a socially beneficial underpinning. To this effect, the technical development of the mass transport network was based on the Government’s long-term vision of an effective multi-modal transport system which includes a light rail Underground Metro System that will be complemented by a re-designed bus transport system to dovetail into the proposed Metro project. The Metro itself will complement other means of transport and transport services, together with ongoing infrastructural projects.
Minister Ian Borg, Prime Minister Robert Abela & Transport Malta CEO Joseph Bugeja
TheJournal.mt delved deeper into the finalised study of this mass transport project and divided this visionary plan into six main nationally-scaled benefits:
- It provides a safe, easy-to-use and accessible to all, public transport system;
- It covers a wide catchment area, connecting the most populated areas of Malta;
- It links neighbourhoods and historic areas, while supporting urban regeneration and sustainable development;
- It enhances urban amenities, realms, and streetscapes;
- It is designed sympathetically in agreement with the local environment, whether located in a residential area, city or historic area;
- It provides constant, fast and uninterrupted travel time, giving commuters the ability to plan their journeys and time them better.
This is just the start. In addition to these nationally-scaled benefits, the study progresses towards the non-quantified economic benefits which include:
- opportunities for substantial improvements in the public realm;
- It adds value to historic sites with potential to attract increased levels of local economic activity;
- Business productivity benefits from reduced costs as a result of shorter journey times;
- Positive economic impacts from increased tourism spread across the island;
- Opportunities for increased foreign direct investment as a result of the provision of a modern transport network.
As American pioneer of information technology, philosopher, and sociologist Ted Nelson said, “The technicalities matter a lot, but the unifying vision matters more.” We can extend this saying even more and state that a unifying national presentation process goes even a longer way.
In fact, the public is being invited to reach out, step forward and sound its voice about this visionary plan as the way forward for Malta’s transport system either by sending an email with their suggestions or else visiting the Information Centres in Valletta or the website for more detials.