Just as a thought : do any of the former Malta school bus SMS Swifts still exist? They were, unlike most of the Swifts, largely in original condition apart from external livery, and would have made perfect preservation candidates. I was in Malta in 2004 and saw a couple of these
Hmm as I understood it, the fleet that worked the school routes was one and the same as the route buses, it's just that they worked on a day on/day off basis (i.e. one day on route bus work, the next day on school/private hire, repeat). That being the case they would have most likely have been surrendered for €90k+ a piece when the government asked all the owner/operators to cash in their licences and buses in return for genenous compensation (and "for life" jobs with Arriva). Hundreds of buses were handed over, though some were kept by the owners for personal preservation or for use as part of the "UBS" consortia (or other similar ones). I do not know what actually happened to the ones that were handed over, other than that some of the ones in the best condition that represented the "classic" Maltese bus were said to have been kept in a warehouse somewhere in the 3 cities for preservation. What has actually happened to them in the meantime is anyone's guess. I doubt that the Swifts would have been see as distintic enough to have not been sent for scrap. But, that said, this IS Malta and very little is ever done as you'd expect it to be. The Mercedes Citaro Gs are still sitting in a scrapyard waiting to be pulled apart 2 years after they were sent there (again, no one knows why) so it's entirely possible the Swifts are somewhere in Malta, slowly rotting away.
I will try and find out, I have a line of communication with the guy in charge of day to day operations at MPT - who usefully enough - used to work for Transport Malta during the ATP and/or Arriva days IIRC, so maybe he knows something... we shall see!
I've only a vague memory of seeing a Swift in London when I was very young (I was born 1973), seem to recall that route 108 had them before converting to National operation? I also have a vague memory that they were very noisy and uncomfortable machines?
Had an interesting evening today. Thanks to invite from MPT's General Manage - Konrad Pule - I went to the main depot at Floriana to have a look over the latest additions to the fleet - the first 3 of 33 Otokar Kent 12 metre buses have now arrived. They're undergoing local technical fit out now but should be in service in the next few days. These seem infinitely better than the 2003 vintage King Long crates they are replacing! Was an interesting chat with Konrad, first time of meeting, really nice and approachable guy.
Konrad suggested that the company (and him!) is up for small groups of interested public to have a little tour of engineering depot at Luqa and/or a look around the new training simulator at the head office (this is mostly meant for locals but I can't see why he'd exclude tourists since they are a very important segment of the customer base!). If you'd be interested in this, PM me and advise when you might visit so I can work out a date/time and numbers with him.
These first three went into service a couple of days later at most. But they've had a bit of troubled start. I saw BUS801 a week and 2 days later after getting the initial guided tour and managed to have a ride on it. Apart from some apparent teething troubles with door interlocks / bells these seem very nice buses, certainly almost (but not quite) on a par with a Citaro in terms of quality and refinement. Not totally sure of the engine type (but believed to be a Cummins ISBe 6.7) but they definitely have Voith gearboxes (which is surprising given last years Vectios have Allison boxes). 801 had some damage to the nearside rear, as though it's clipped something going around a corner. So only in service a week and already in the wars!
On the subject of Arriva Malta, what ever happened to the ex London Citaro's? I heard a rumour last year that these were off to Sudan! Is this true?
See previous page of this thread!
But in summary, it was true but the deal fell through. They were then sold for scrap and transferred to a scrapyard on the outskirts of San Gwann. If you travel the main road between San Gwann and Naxxar you can clearly see them all parked up there still awaiting scrapping to this day. It's not known why they have not been scrapped but they will certainly never see service in Malta again, nor anywhere else really.
Hmmm Earlier this year? Are you sure? That's the ditch at Floriana. They were moved from there during 2014 to San Gwann, why on earth would they have been taken back there and dumped again in this area which is now much needed space for MPT's enlarged fleet? I drove past the site in San Gwann a few weeks ago anyway, the buses were still parked up there, rusting away, I don't believe this photo was taken this year, I'm sorry.
Sorry to bump a old topic I'm currently out in Malta on a 2 week holiday and been using the buses Thursday and Friday the king long buses are not fit for service imo also during this time 5 buses have failed to turn up and others running severely late
Why exactly do you believe that? What issues did you see with them? To be honest most of the king longs are in much better shape now than they were during MPT's first year of 2014. Now the Citaros however goodness me some of those have been absolutely battered...
Had a meet up with the Spanish owner of MPT recently, just a couple of bits of news. The 10 ex-Arriva Optare Solo Hybrids are no more, they were withdrawn after last summer. They are trying to sell them but haven't had any luck so far but will not see any further use. Likewise the former ex-ATP fleet including the hideously badly made and maintained 2003 vintage king longs and the rather better SCARNIF volvos have also been stood down and will no longer see revenue earning service. The company has also announced that it will be buying new dedicated buses (likely this year) for the airport express routes, such buses will have dedicated luggage racks and USB sockets for phone charging. These are likely to be based on Volvo or Otokar designs but no decision has yet been made as the company is currently discussing options with various manufacturers.