TD Plus: Everything Maltese Students Need To Know
Earlier this week, Malta Public Transport unveiled a new type of bus which allows you to book a place on it for €2 via the app. "That's brilliant, now I can catch my bus to Buġibba without worrying it's gonna be packed!" Before you start jumping for joy and raving about how brilliant this new system is, there are a couple things you need to know before you can actually use this service.
What are these busses?
Well, when we say busses, we actually mean minibuses. They are quite easily spottable as they drive around the island. That is if you are lucky enough to see one as there are only 6 of these massive Mercs. They are all equipped with free wifi, USB ports, have wheelchair access, and can accommodate up to 16 persons. While all this seems fine and dandy, the kicker comes in the available routes for these premium busses.
If you are planning to go from Marsaskala to Ċirkewwa, the you may be out of luck. TD Plus only operates between Pembroke and Valletta and also visits other localities such as
St. Julian’s, Swieqi, San Ġwann, Msida, Pieta, and Floriana. This means that for you to use these new minivans you need to either live in these places or frequent them often to make it worth it.
Also, these busses only visit certain bus stops, functioning as a sort of mix between a cab service that takes you to your house and a normal bus. The only benefit to using this service is that it's cheaper than a Bolt-like service but it only works between 5:30am and 10:30pm, further reducing the availability. ⏱
How to get one?
Catching a TD Plus is quite easy yet also comes with some constraints. After signing up for TD Plus via the updated Tallinja App, you can book your seat by choosing which bus stops you want to be picked up from and which to be dropped off at. Once you do that, it will ask you to confirm your order where it will automatically take out €2 from your Tallinja card or Credit card, depending which you registered with. After you do that, you will receive a notification informing you that your bus is on the way.
All in all, the service is a good idea, but what is it actually doing? The route from Valletta to St. Julian's already has direct which, while you can't book your place, functions very similarly to this new system. Before using the service you need to have registered, meaning that there will be less spur of the moment decisions. That combined with the small service area may reduce their customers, but since this is the first implementation it may serve as a trial area.
This new service guarantees a spot on a bus, and with a cost that isn't much larger than the directs, it seems like a good step forward for our public transport. Focusing on heavily populated areas where parking is hard to find, they could be used similarly to park and rides or help Uni students get to school a little bit faster.