The volume of traffic we meet every morning on our way to work is a vote of no-confidence in Austin Gatt’s Arriva, which has not delivered the sense of efficiency it was supposed to deliver. But is it only Austin Gatt’s fault that the Government still has not found a way to encourage people to share private transport, with the result that practically all the cars you see during rush hour are carrying only one person?
Other countries have offered incentives to drivers who are sharing the trip with a co-worker. We are not the only country with lots of cars but we may be among the only ones to be administratively complacent about it. So part of the fault of the catastrophic situation in our streets in the morning is definitely not Austin Gatt’s.
The fault does not lie in any way, in my opinion, with the police force. Thank God for the army of officers who are directing the flow in strategic places. I cannot imagine what Marsa would have been like when, after a small shower of rain on Thursday night, the traffic lights were out the next morning.
And yet I think the police should be using their presence to more effect. We had thought that at least, the accession to the European Union would help push us towards cleaner air. We were told quite pompously that now we had a mobile unit which could stop cars and test their combustion emissions. Have you ever seen this unit anywhere in the streets? I swear I saw it ONCE years ago.
But have you ever seen a lorry trailing a black cloud pass right in front of this army of policemen, with none of them as much as looking at this affront to our lungs? I know that this may not be the best moment to stop the offender, but has the volume of exhaust in our streets really diminished? Go to strategic spots … like the uphill roads to Saqqajja, to Mellieha, to the Mosque area … where those who cunningly avoid stepping on the accelerator when passing in front of policemen, because the state of their engine will show up, are obliged to reveal themselves.
Get caught up in a traffic jam … moving towards any one of several tunnels … and you’re tempted to decide that if you must die of lung cancer you might as well have died from the smoking you reluctantly gave up, because you enjoyed the fag, as opposed to the quarryman’s exhaust which you are willy-nilly forced to breathe.