Collaboration appeal as Arriva pulls out on January 1
Transport Minister Joe Mizzi this afternoon called on commuters, Arriva employees and trade unions to collaborate with Transport Malta as it takes over the public transport service from January 1, 2014.
Addressing a press conference, the Minister said that the government had not wished for the situation to degenerate to such an extent. however, Arriva was loosing millions of euros and the service offered had failed to reach the desired levels.
"It was a lose-lose situation for both Arriva and the government and an agreement was reached for the company to leave the island," Minister Mizzi said. He added that it could have been a much worse situation for Malta had Arriva decided to liquidate the company and the government did not want this to happen.
"For the sake of the commuters and the employees we could not let the company liquidate and leave. Negotiations were held for months on end and at the end it was agreed that Arriva should leave. People were promised a revolution by the previous government but instead they got confusion."
Transport Malta will take over the service from January 1, 2014, and will continue to run the service until a new operator is awarded the license. A call for expressions of interest will be issued.
The Minister said that Arriva had received €23 million in subsidies but would not divulge the cost for the transfer of shares and assets would amount to.
"Arriva made it a point to find an exit solution since it was estimating to lose millions of euros under the original contract, let alone the new routes which were being proposed by the government," the Minister said.
"The jobs of all Arriva employees will be safeguarded and that was of paramount importance for the government," Minister Mizzi added.
Asked whether the old buses which were taken out of circulation would be used again, Transport Malta chairman, James Piscopo, said that the aim was for an improvement in service, and practically excluded the possibility. The Minister added that new buses are required for an efficient service.