One of the favourite topics of conversation on Malta, amongst the tourists, is buses. I know, not your normal opening gambit, "have you travelled on the 47 to Valletta with no doors?", but, believe it or not, it happens!
The buses on Malta vary tremendously in age and character. I have never taken so many photographs of any type of vehicle as I did those wonderful buses.
This is the bus station in Valletta, the capital city. Well, just a tiny shot of a few buses, actually, but you can see there aren't two buses alike here! Not like your average bus station here in the UK where the majority are clones of each other. In Malta, the colours unify them into a family, and they all have wheels and a driver, but after that ... well, like a large, extended family, each member is unique.
Look at the difference in the sizes of these two! And, like a family, there are siblings of different ages. The older brother on the left is shorter in stature than his younger brother, maybe nutrition improved for buses after he'd grown up!
Another pair of contrasts. The flamboyant decorative grille on the right hand, older bus, has become subdued, streamlined, on the left hand model. You could almost believe that the left hand one is modern, but take a ride on it, and you'll discover that it doesn't have much of what you'd expect from a public transport vehicle. Decent suspension to give a comfortable ride? Not that we noticed. Windows that open and close? Mmm, some did, others the windows were permanently one or the other. Doors that closed? Well, that's an interesting one! Some buses, which are allowed to carry 12 standing passengers, had no doors at all!!! They weren't just kept open, they were removed. Comfortable padded seats? Not really, in fact the seat covers may well be patched up with duct tape, if they're patched at all, that is. Many are left slashed or worn, scarred by the hard life they've lived.
I'm not saying that the Maltese have necessarily done the damage, either. These buses have been imported over the years from England, mostly, judging by the advertisement still in place on the interior walls, from London. Maybe late night revellers in our capital caused the damage, who knows?
This was the most modern looking of all the buses, but inside, well, let's say it was as interesting as the others.
But, generally speaking, they were clean. This guy is washing down his bus at the bus station in Valletta.
And this one is using a sweeping brush to clean his windscreen at the local bus station.
Apparently, some buses are owned by the drivers, and others are owned by the bus company. I assume that those who assiduously clean their vehicles are those who proudly own them, but I could be wrong.
I'll post more photos another day, you ain't seen nothing yet, as they say!