Arriva launch new Triple Bendy Bus
By Karl Stennienibarra
Arriva have launched a brand new fleet of triple bendy buses to mark the first anniversary since they successfully took over Malta’s public transport system.
The company had intended to launch the new bus on July 3, exactly a year after they started operating, but the Chinese cargo ship which they were on broke down off the coast of Cyprus.
Eventually the Tri-Benders, as they are known, entered service this morning and several of them promptly blocked various main roads.
In Sliema, one bendy bus came apart as it went round a bend, with one of the segments ending up in the sea off Tigne Point. causing 17 passengers to drown. Arriva swiftly issued a sincere apology, while offering a free seven-day pass to all relatives and a promise to look into installing life vests in all its buses in the future.
One passenger who was asked to comment remarked: “I lost my 9 year old son in the accident, but I’m happy the bus arrived on time. Then again, if he was on an old bus he might have been able to escape through an open window, but at least he was sitting in air-conditioned comfort before he met his watery end.”
Having caused 103 accidents on its first day alone, the driver’s inability to precisely control the swing of the third segment appears to be a recurring issue in the new buses. However, Arriva’s spokesman for Malta said the company was already hard at work looking into ways to solve the problem.
“We’re working on an agreement with Transport Malta which would free us of any legal responsibility for the third segment,” she said.
Referring to the accident in Sliema, the spokesman commented: “The fact that the three segments of the bus are held together by a combination of chewing gum and the congealed sweat of exploited factory workers may have something to do with them coming apart.
Meanwhile, transport Minister Austin Gatt hailed the Tri-Benders, while promising further innovation in the future.
“Eventually I’d like to introduce a bendy bus so long that it wouldn’t even need to be driven. Imagine a bus that stretches all the way from Mosta to Birkirkara. Passengers would just walk from one part of it to the other to get to their destination.
It’s amazing what whiskey does for one’s creativity,” Dr Gatt said.