ADPD lambasts government’s transport and mobility policy as a failed model

Portrait: Miguela Xuereb

Tista’ taqra bil-Malti.

ADPD has come out against comments made by transport minister Aaron Farrugia over the past week, and charged that the government lacks vision, political will and awareness of how a modern transport and mobility policy could be adopted in Malta.

In a statement on Saturday, the party referred to comments made by minister Farrugia where he tried to “ridicule” proposals made by bicycle advocacy group, Rota, and said the minister failed to realize that the transport policy he is prompting has already been tried and tested in Europe in the 60s and the 70s.

Earlier this week, transport minister Farrugia told the Malta Independent that the government’s primary aim is for roads to be safe and more efficient for cars. Then if there is space for a bicycle lane, it will be included.

ADPD’s general secretary, Ralph Cassar, insisted that it was absolutely false that the more flyovers are constructed and the more roads are widened, the more efficient it will become.

I highlighted that in 2022, mobility efficiency means safer urban roads, with less traffic, more pedestrianized areas and roads reserved for public transport. Such modern plans also take into consideration the use of alternative means of transport such as bikes and pedelecs.

Cassar also mentioned the need for bicycle super-highways as well as the need for a Bus Rapid Transit system along the main roads.

“It is a well-documented fact that transport is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions and other dangerous pollutants in Malta. Half the energy consumption is in fact currently used for transport. This is due to the fact that successive governments have focused their policy on the use of private vehicles in spite of the fact that we have short distances to travel in Malta,” Cassar said, and added that the government’s rhetoric on climate emergency did not translate into action.

The party’s chairperson, Carmel Cacopardo observed that according to the EU-financed National Master Plan 2025 that the Government commissioned half of all car-trips in Malta have a duration which is less than 15 minutes should make it easier to encourage a change in transport mode and help rather than hinder those who consider using alternative means of transport.

I stressed that the roads belong to all, and should be designed so. Cacopardo also highlighted that the government was ignoring the master plan’s recommendation of creating ‘bus corridors’.

The masterplan document states: “data shows that about 50% of trips are under 15 minutes illustrating that mobility is produced at a local level on very short paths. This therefore creates the opportunity to increase the modal share for walking and cycling.”

Cacopardo called for more action, saying there was enough data in hand on which to act.

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