Chaotic Scenes on Arriva’s First Day

 Arriva Malta finally arrived on July 3rd, but things definitely didn’t run smoothly for the new public transportation network. Passengers may have thought they were watching an episode of the old British comedy show “On the Buses” when drivers passed them by without stopping and generally seemed to be dazed and confused as to what they were doing. Some of the passengers who did get picked up said they weren’t charged bus fare because the vehicles were running late.

These chaotic scenes were predictable though after many Arriva drivers announced they wouldn’t show up for work because they weren’t happy with their schedules. The drivers complained about split shifts as well as longer hours than they expected. The matter is being discussed by the General Workers Union (GWU) and Arriva management to see if they can come to some sort of compromise.

The GWU also issued a statement that praised the professionalism of the drivers who showed up to work on Sunday and said they weren’t at fault for any of the delays. A spokesperson for Arriva admitted that buses were behind schedule, but the company’s management made sure passengers were looked after and got to their destinations.

Arriva is expected to release a press statement explaining the problems the company encountered on the first day of service. However, commuters are wondering how the company will cope during weekdays when things are expected to get busier. It’s also possible that more people than usual took the bus on Sunday to try out the new service and that led to longer queues than normal.

Many customers said the drivers were helpful and courteous, but others said they weren’t happy about waiting over an hour for buses that didn’t show up. The problems seemed to increase as the day went on and more commuters arrived to take buses. This led to several full buses on the busier routes such as St. Julian’s and Sliema. One bus even got stuck on Mater Dei Hospital Road and photos of it quickly appeared on some social networking sites.

Some commuters were asked to change buses during their trips and long lines of tourists were spotted in Salina Bay and Mosta. In addition, some of the buses, which were built in China, were showing destinations of Chinese cities on their electronic displays. And to top things off, Arriva’s website didn’t work for most of Sunday morning and finally came back online about 1:30pm.

While a few hiccups could be expected on the first day of service, some commuters said they don’t want to take the risk of being late when they go to work this week and will arrange for alternate transportation.

0 July 5, 2011 By Stephan in News Tags: , , , ,

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