Arriva leaves Malta
Arriva has decided to pull out of operating bus services in Malta. The operator is handing over the operation to the island’s government. A spokesperson from the company said, ‘After careful consideration, agreement has been reached to transfer the whole of the shareholding of Arriva Malta to the Government of Malta, taking effect from 2 January 2014. We have considered every alternative together with Government representatives and have entered into long and detailed negotiations to try and find a satisfactory outcome for all parties. We believe that this decision will be in the best interests of all stakeholders and ensure continuation of the provision of bus services on Malta and Gozo for the travelling public. Services continue to operate as normal and, as part of the agreement, Arriva will provide operational management advice to the Government of Malta over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees.’
Arriva’s move follows an inconclusive series of negotiations with Malta’s government over the introduction of new routes and the withdrawal of articulated buses. It has been reported in the island’s local press that the operator has made financial losses since taking on the ten-year contract in 2011. An initial problem it faced was a shortage of drivers, followed by complaints over the new routes devised by the government. Its network in the country employs 285 buses and has 1,120 staff.