TMID Editorial: E-scooters and alternative modes of transport

Let’s start off by stating that alternative modes of transport are important and very much needed as Malta faces ever increasing transport problems. An increase of 56 cars per day on our roads is no joke and it’s about time we look into these alternative modes of transport.

This is sadly not a view which Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia will share, particularly after recent comments to this newsroom showing the clear, car-centric direction of the government when it comes to transport.

In Malta, although we live in 2022, our policies and infrastructures for transport date back to the late 1980s where building bigger and wider roads was the norm. This is being done without any consideration for anything else other than cars.

Even though we have transportation methods such as e-scooters available literally at the click of an app, we still fail to provide the necessary infrastructure in order to promote them.

Let’s take e-scooters: they are an excellent mode of transport for short journeys, intercity travelling and they do reduce the amount of cars on the road. Someone who wants to go from Sliema Ferries to St. Julians would find an e-scooter perfect for his or her needs, but there isn’t the infrastructure in place for it to work without being a hindrance to other people.

This infrastructure is lacking both in terms of how these scooters should be ridden on the roads as well as where they should be parked. It’s true the way things currently are, they are sometimes dangerous on the road, risking the lives of the riders on a constant basis but this is only due to the fact that nothing is being done by the government to accommodate alternative modes of transport.

Till the end of March 2022, Transport Malta had a total of 414,669 vehicles and transportation devices registered with it, out of these 9.4% were bicycles, e-scooters, ATVs and other modes of transport. People are showing that they want to make use of these alternative modes of transport. It’s up to you, Aaron Farrugia, to make it easier for everyone.

We are moving Malta towards a car centric future, and that is bad. While boasting about creating ambitious carbon neutral targets with the rest of the European Union, we have a minister who is oblivious to the fact that the car centric policies he is in part responsible for are the cause of traffic jams and for pollution.

The crux of the argument is that we need proper investment when it comes to e-scooters, bicycles and so on. We need to safeguard the safety of their users in order to make it easier to switch onto these modes of transport.

414,669 cars on the roads of a country barely 300 square kilometers is a worrying statistic and it is about time that Aaron Farrugia and the government do something about it before we become the country known for its permanent grid lock.