Photographer's Note

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A Malta bus (xarabank, karozza tal-linja) is both the bus used for public transport on the Mediterranean island of Malta, and also a major tourist attraction on the island, due to their unique appearance grounded in the bus ownership and operation model employed on Malta. In particular, Malta has several bus types that are no longer in service anywhere else in the world.
The unique nature of the Malta bus stems from the tradition of local ownership of the buses by the drivers, and their historic practice of customising them. In addition to a high degree of customisation, detailing and decoration, several Malta buses also have a unique appearance due to the practice of in-house maintenance, rebuilding or modifying of bus bodies in local workshops.

The majority of classic Malta buses have elaborate grilles and headlight arrangements, curved windscreens and sloping roofs. Between 1981 and 1987 the fleet was drastically modernised with the import of over 260 second hand buses from the UK.
Malta buses are characterised by their high level of customisation and detailing. Common additions to buses include:
• Increased use chrome parts / high polishing of chrome parts, such as hubcaps and grilles
• Paint detailing, both generally, and of parts such as indicators and filler caps
• Custom passenger messages, both in the interior and exterior of the bus
• Names relating to the village patron saint, monarchs, or other notable objects.
• Trimmings and hangings, especially inside the front window
• Slogans, murals, quotations and lucky images (such as the horseshoe)
Due to the nature of operation of Malta buses, many of the drivers are also mechanics, and a high number of Malta buses proudly display the name of the manufacturer of the chassis or body of the bus, or the engine type used.

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Additional Photos by Paul Bulteel (pauloog) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 77 N: 1882] (11751)
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