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Photographer's Note

The island country of Malta has a fleet of about 500 buses, most of them owner-operated. The British Leyland buses date mainly from the 1950s, and they're painted bright red and orange on the outside. On the inside they're customized with images of the Virgin Mary and St. Paul.

Busses are fabulous in both form and function. You can get almost anywhere on them. They supplanted the railway in 1905.

The Public Transport Association, or as it is known in Maltese: Assocjazzjoni Trasport Pubbliku - ATP - is the biggest public transport provider on the island. It has a vast network covering the whole island of Malta besides offering other services like direct services and a special night service from popular night spots on the island. For the frequent user weekly tickets are available that make travelling by bus that much cheaper.

Short history of the Maltese Bus

In 1905 a certain Mr Spiteri was granted the permission to import buses from UK to run between Valletta and St. Andrew because, as you probably know, Malta was a military and naval base and transport was essential. At first, he imported six Thornycroft buses from UK to run between Valletta and St. Andrews. Later another twenty seven seaters single deckers and thirty six seaters Thornycroft double deckers started running between Valletta and St. Julians. These first buses were painted in yellowish green and with a black band. During this period several Maltese acquired lorries' chassis and converted them into buses and in a short time more different types were seen running from villages to Valletta.

Presently there are 508 buses working on a day on day off basis, thus 254 buses are working on route transport throughout the island every day. The rest of the buses that are on their day off, work private trips and perform school transport, carrying school children to and from various schools in Malta.
(Source: maltatransport.com & busesworldwide.org)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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