The battle between modernisation and regional character claimed another victim back in 2011, when Malta’s famous fleet of art deco buses was retired due to their age. Usually operated by owner-drivers, the eccentrically varied Maltese bus fleet was considered a unique characteristic of the Mediterranean island, with many painted in bold colours and bright murals. Now a London- and Malta-based design studio has suggested a contemporary alternative, one that combines zero emissions technology with all the visual charm of the originals.
The island had been doubly cursed by the arrival of emissions legislation – not only did it lose many of its distinctive visual buses, but it ended up as the final destination for London’s cast-off ‘bendy buses’. To add insult to injury, the latter were found to be largely unsuited for its network of winding roads. Mizzi Studio hopes to put all that behind it. The new buses are boldly styled and unapologetically art deco in influence.
Aesthetics aside, the new buses would set the island on a path to climate-neutrality, improve the take-up of public transport and help reduce pollution across the island. The designs will go on show at the parliament building in Valleta in July 2019, alongside a model bus and CGI film (Produced by Stargate Studios Malta), where Mizzi hopes to drum up further support for this very personal project with island-wide implications.