time to explore with esplora
Remember the old Maltese buses? They’re back!
Lately, beautifully-restored old Maltese buses have been seen on the roads again.
Are they back in rotation? Are they picking up passengers from bus stops, eager to get to work? Unfortunately, they are not. They are however, operating as part of scheduled vintage tours from Valletta to St Julian’s and back!
“The old buses were replaced almost 10 years ago now, so anyone under the age of 14 will not remember the delights of our old buses,” said the director of the Vintage Bus City Tour, Manuel Cutajar.
Now, we are finally being granted the opportunity to travel back in time and take a seat on the bright Maltese buses again.
The buses in the fleet have been restored to the highest of standards and have been painted in the old route liveries, which were used all the way up until 1973. The bus of the Sliema route, for instance, is two-tone green and white. The bus that travels through the Żurrieq route is orange, the one used on the Żabbar route was painted red and blue. The buses that ran through the Żebbuġ and Siġġiewi routes were painted yellow, orange and white – the same colours they were painted between 1995 and 2011.
Here are some tour details:
The tour route runs from near Triton’s Fountain, outside City Gate, all the way into Valletta. It follows the road around the Valletta pensinsula, so passengers can feast their on the stunning Grand Harbour.
Next, the buses go into Floriana, and follow the traditional bus route through Msida and Sliema to St. Julian’s, and around St. George’s Bay, before heading back towards Sliema and Valletta.
The buses run on an hourly basis, departing from the capital between 9am and 6pm. The full round trip takes around an hour and a half. Departure times from St. Julian’s are aroung 40-45 minutes later.
“With the 5pm anbd 6pm departures from Valletta being in the dark, these trips also give one the chance to sample the subtle lighting of these buses and the illuminated shrine by the driver’s cabin,” added Manuel Cutajar.
As it stands, the six active members of the fleet comprise three early 1950s Thames ET7 and a Bedford OB. A fourth of the former will be on the road during January alongside a fifth, plus a 1950 Corner, which is due later this year.