According to Arriva Malta Managing Director, Keith Bastow 180 drivers failed to show up to work during the past week.
In a statement issued today Bastow said “We started operating services a week ago with the huge challenge of being without a considerable number of the drivers who were due to help us provide public transport services to the public of Malta from 3 July. That a significant number of people who signed contracts didn’t honour their commitments hit us hard – despite significant investment in extensive training up to 180 drivers let us down and didn’t report for duty, over half of which were drivers from the former regime. We were then, and are now, far from where we would want to be, and from where the client body, Transport Malta, and our customers would want us to be.”
The company then confirmed that it is determined to deliver a high quality public transport system. They also hoped that the maltese would not lose heart at the bad start.
“The course of this week we have worked hard to take action. Our priority was improving service provision and addressing issues. Today we can report that services were improved once more, with more and more frequent travel opportunities for passengers. However there are still localised issues for us to fix.”
The company also explained that it has drafted support from around the Arriva group to bring in additional specific transport expertise and to take the pressure off staff who have this week worked around the clock.
More than 40 support staff, supervisors and management are supporting the company.
“To address the driver shortage issue the action we have taken includes drafting more than 70 temporary drivers from the UK and continuing our recruitment drive in Malta. By Sunday more than 50 British drivers will be on the road, with a further 20 drivers entering service early next week. These drivers have received training on the specific routes they will be working on. We have also continued to recruit and train additional drivers in Malta, which we would have been doing anyway to provide holiday cover for later in the year. We currently have 54 Maltese drivers in training and are actively recruiting more.
The company concluded by apologising to those who have been affected this week – and ensured that the system will be working smoothly as soon as possible.