“Nationalize all public transport and prioritize active mobility”
Activists called on the government to nationalize all public transport and move away from car-dependent policies that result in unacceptably high levels of road deaths.
On Saturday, Moviment Graffitti, Friends of the Earth Malta and Rota held a lying and press conference outside Parliament to expose the true costs of inefficient public transport, a lack of adequate cycling and walking infrastructure and illogical traffic. central transport system.
They said the transport model being pushed by past and current authorities prioritizes private cars at the expense of ensuring safe and reliable access to mobility for all, resulting in an unacceptably high number of road accidents and deaths at worst.
It has also created constant traffic and congestion problems, seriously affecting people’s ability to move from one place to another, ultimately reducing the quality of life.
“A car-based transport system perpetuates existing inequalities and does not provide safe and equitable mobility,” say the NGOs.
They argued that no one should be required to own a car to compensate for inadequate transportation alternatives. “Practical alternatives are increasingly in demand as the problem of traffic congestion worsens and economic divides widen.”
Actions and messages from authorities show that car infrastructure remains a priority, activists said. They indicated that this infrastructure perpetuates the lack of safety and efficiency felt by many who wish to switch modes of transport.
“Public transport is a public service and should not be run by for-profit companies that risk compromising quality in order to turn taxpayers’ money into a profit,” the NGOs say.
They said the profit model has led to Gozo Fast Ferry’s “major disappointment” in recent months as the government aims to pledge millions more in public funds to reassure private companies.
“The failure of authorities to recognize that a large segment of the public rely on buses and ferries for daily commutes – because of age, ability, finance or choice – is a major disservice.”
They said Maltese politicians are not taking the necessary, bold approaches that replace car dependency with more accessible, sustainable and socially inclusive travel options.
“This negatively affects people’s health, finances and leisure time, but politicians prefer to placate lobbyists and financiers. Road works continue to serve as a vehicle for politicians to hand out favors – and huge sums of public money – to private contractors.”
They insisted that people’s safety and quality of life were worth far more than politicians’ perceived obligation to those who funded their campaigns.
“Your true parts are the people. If politicians take the opportunity to address our transport issues directly, they will be remembered positively in the long term,” the NGOs say.
They said if Farrugia wants to avoid more road deaths and be remembered as the transport minister who solved our road congestion problems, the way forward is to shift infrastructure priorities to alternative modes of transport.
The organizations called on Secretary of Transportation Aaron Farrugia to nationalize and continue investing in all public transportation, including ferries, and to publish standards for walking and cycling infrastructure.
They also called for a legally binding national cycling policy and an update to the Highway Code to introduce the hierarchy of road users, giving those responsible for vehicles most likely to cause the most damage the most responsibility, to reduce the risk to the most vulnerable road users.
The NGOs also want the state to introduce putative liability laws that protect vulnerable road users.
They also called for a prioritization of active mobility within village cores to provide residents with safe walking and cycling routes within villages.