It’s about time these old diesel-spewing decrepit traffic hazards went off the roads. Far too many times I’ve seen accidents caused by their overly-wide bodies squeezed into tiny streets. Sure they look great as an icon, but in today’s world completely impractical; and given the number of cars on the roads it’s one less thing to worry about.
The nostalgia surrounding their retirement isn’t new and there are plenty of people who would like to see them continue on their rickety routes. But we must look at the positives the new buses will bring: environmentally friendly, safer, quieter and more comfortable. Far too often we’ve blamed the woeful state of the public transport system on our exaggerated use of the car, hopefully we can now start to wean ourselves off them.
If we want to help the earth and the environment we need to start using alternatives to cars. Buses are one such alternative; petrol/electric scooters and bicycles are other examples.
It all comes down to physics. The energy to move a person from point A to point B is relatively small, however, as weight increases so do the energy requirements. By driving a car you are consuming energy not only to move you from A to B but also the two-ton vehicle you’re sitting in. The aim is to minimize fuel consumption by minimizing the total weight and in this case the weight of the vehicle.
Granted, the poor state of Maltese roads does very little to encourage scooter adoption and although I’ve been riding for over 25 years, often I still find myself in dangerous situations because of the roads. If we want to promote healthier modes of transport to the general public, we should start by fixing the basic infrastructure.
In truth, I’d like to see one or two of the old buses to stick around for history’s sake; and I can’t deny – they look pretty good in photos.
[In response to: Malta’s colourful vintage buses bow out]