After weeks of vague statements, the PN finally unveiled more detail about their trackless tram proposal. It seems like they are simply trying to react to Labour’s electoral headlining proposal about the environment by trying to stitch some flashy artwork together in order to hastily make this their biggest electoral pledge. Unfortunately for them, the more they seem to try to make us believe they have grand plans for this country, the more evident it becomes that they are simply not yet fit to take this country forward.
Mind you, I am no transport and infrastracture expert but i’d like to think of myself as someone with a decent degree of common sense. Excuse the pun but to me, this trackless tram idea will simply not gather steam.
Indirectly conceding that road widening was required after all
It is being said that the trackless tram being proposed would run six routes in order to service all of Malta’s urban, industrial and commercial areas. At the same time, it is contradictorily being said that the routes would use arterial roads and major thoroughfares.
When speaking about this, Bernard Grech often says that the tram would either make use of the roads being widened by this Labour government, or widen further where possible. So, I humbly ask, is Bernard Grech now admitting that the road widening projects were needed after all? After coming all out against the Central Link project because of the impact he alleges this had on famers, will he be doing the same? Can I also ask the Leader of the Opposition how can he propose to widen more roads to cater for these glorified buses whilst also promising to strictly guard our ODZ areas?
Is Bernard Grech now admitting that the road widening projects were needed after all?
So would the plan to widen the roads to cater for the trackless tram also need a two-thirds majority in parliament? How much ODZ land is required to cater for the additional infrastructure?
I tend to believe that the main issue plaguing public transport is one of trust. People want reassurance that they will arrive to their destination on time. Hence, if we want widespread adoption of a new public transport service, it must be ensured that from day one the service is timely and efficient. It is being said that the six routes would have numerous stops to make it easy to efficiently travel from Ċirkewwa from Birżebbuġa, but looking at the route map published, one can already observe numerous routing issues that would render the service inefficient.
Let’s start with the line that leaves Ċirkewwa. This line’s second stop is at Għadira. My first question is, so what route will the tram take from Ċirkewwa to Għadira? The existing Marfa road offers no space for an additional dedicated lane. Additionally, the road along Għadira Bay is already too narrow for vehicular traffic as it is; a dedicated lane would probably mean that either one of the existing lanes is taken by the trackless tram, or the existing promenade along the bay is narrowed even further.
Proceeding down the route, it seems that the trackless tram would travel along the Coast Road. Let us not forget that in one of the photomontages that the PN published, they scrapped the cycle lane along this road in order to cater for the trackless tram. The deeper the proposed routes are analysed, one will realise that from day one of operation, the trackless tram will get stuck in traffic.
How will the PN guarantee the tram will not be delayed on the way to stop at the proposed Msida Junior College stop? We all know there is no space for widening there. How would the trackless tram reach Paola Center or Fgura Center on time? Do you imagine a dedicated lane along Żabbar Road in Fgura? This is why I said this trackless tram service is destined to fail from day one, because just like our cars, just like our taxis and just like our buses, the moment it tries to navigate our heavily urbanised area is will get stuck and be unable to honour its timetable.
Additionally, how come Bernard Grech, who is contesting the 5th Electoral District forgot to offer an efficient public transport to the people living in Kirkop, Safi, Qrendi, Mqabba and Żurrieq?
The think-outside-the-box mindset is inexistent
When launching this proposal, the PN leader boasted that this proposal shows how innovative the PN can be? In reality he was publicly admitting how limited their thinking really is! How can we be convinced you are thinking outside-the-box when your grand proposal is intrinsically bound to all the existing limitations of our limited land area? It is yet another clear sign that the people working on the electoral manifesto in 2022 are the same people who gave us the Arriva debacle!
The harder the Pieta’ folk try to convince us they have changed, they have renewed, they have become more innovative, the clearer it becomes they have not! Simply a case of a party that, just like their toy tram, is trackless, reckless and rudderless