The Times of Malta: A response to my Guardian article on bendy buses

Jessica Abrahams’s article ‘London’s old buses are driving Maltese round the bend’, which recently appeared in The Guardian, was a succinct, accurate look at the transport situation here in Malta, now that London’s discards and castaway bendy buses have suddenly turned up on our doorsteps – quite literally I’d say, especially in the limits of Marsascala.

Apart from making for an entertaining read, I found myself marvelling at how beautifully Abrahams managed to hone in and capture the essence of how completely wrong, ungainly and utterly alien these monstrous buses are to our “narrow streets, winding hills and medieval cities”, causing them to stick out like sore thumbs “with the grace of a rhino stuck in a Wendy house”.

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The Guardian: London’s old buses are driving Maltese round the bend

A traditional Maltese bus before the arrival of the "monstrous" bendy. Photo by Felix O

If you think Londoners are always complaining about public transport, you should try catching a bus in Malta. Travel problems have become so bad that a man went on hunger strike over modified bus routes this summer, a situation that was only diffused when the prime minister paid a personal visit to the aggrieved and convinced him to eat two kiwi fruits. Last month hundreds of disgruntled commuters marched through the streets in protest about the new system.

And now, to add more spice to the situation, British transport company Arriva has shipped its bendy buses over to the island.

The exact same buses, in fact, to which Boris Johnson bid a “final but not fond farewell” when they were removed from London on Friday because they couldn’t navigate the city’s narrow streets.

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