Malta’s fast ferry operators carried out 45.4 per cent fewer trips between Valletta, Malta and Mgarr, Gozo between July and September 2022, but this only translated into a reduction of passengers amounting to 2.8 per cent.
In total, National Statistics Office (NSO) figures reveal that in the third quarter of the year, a total of 2,295 trips were carried out, carrying a total of 197,858 passengers.
The service was first launched in June 2021, allowing for like-with-like comparisons between the third quarter of this year against last year.
In 2022, July registered the highest number of trips – 824 or 35.9 per cent of total trips for the quarter – while August recorded the highest number of passengers – 71,871 or 36.3 per cent for the quarter.
The fast ferry service made headlines in recent weeks after the two private operators of the service, Virtu Ferries and Gozo Fast Ferry, announced a reduction of trips for its winter timetables. Over the peak season, the operators catered for around 12 to 13 daily trips, but both reduced their service to around nine trips daily, focusing in the mornings and afternoons.
Gozitan commuters making use of the service to work in Malta complained heavily as the new winter service is clearly geared towards tourists and those travelling for reasons outside of work.
In early October, both operators pledged to increase the number of trips they run between the two islands once they conclude talks with Government over financial assistance to prop up their loss-making operations.
The talks relate to a Government offer for a two-year, €12 million public service contract to the operators. If taken up, the contract would bind both operators to maintain a schedule in line with people’s needs as well as fix prices.
More than 10 per cent of Maltese enterprises struggle to find ICT specialists
The due diligence applied ensures the focus is on quality, not quantity
The half-day event hosted panel discussions on tackling burnout and technology for gender equality