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Covid-19 - all Tallinja Direct (TD) routes and Night routes (prefixed N) remain suspended as at May 2021 due to the pandemic. Other routes are running to temporary reduced schedules - the MPT website has a list of service frequencies from August 17th 2020, but this may not be totally up to date. However, the individual route timetables on the MPT website do seem to be up to date (see below under Timetables). Face masks are compulsory on public transport and no change is given.

Note that all information on this page has been checked and updated as at 4th May 2021.

Welcome to Maltabybus.com

Exploring Malta and Gozo by public transport can be fun and rewarding, if a little fraught at times due to the large number of people travelling and ever increasing traffic congestion. You could just hop on a bus and see what happens. On the other hand, if you want to arm yourself with some information and maybe do some pre-planning, this is the website for you. I can't promise that the information will always be 100% accurate or up to date - sat here in the UK it's not always easy to find out what's going on. I will, however, do my best, and I trust you will have a great holiday on these fascinating islands.

If you were expecting the quirky old buses that you may have heard about and seen in guidebooks, they were swept away overnight in July 2011 and replaced with modern buses on a completely new network. Sad for the bus enthusiasts but maybe not for the residents. Things did not go well for the new operator, Arriva, and they pulled out at the end of 2013. Malta Public Transport was formed, initially run by the Government, but from January 2015 a Spanish company called Autobuses Urbanos de Leσn gained the concession to run the company. A new light-green and white livery was introduced to replace Arriva's blue and white colours. Routes and timetables were initially unchanged, but a new network was introduced in phases in 2015. Numerous enhancements subsequently followed but the route network has now settled down, although timings and frequencies are regularly tweaked.

Also on this website you will find further pages aimed at enthusiasts and those interested in the history of bus services in Malta. My name's Brendan, by the way, and you can find my contact details on my Globe Studios website. Please note that all information on this site is unofficial and I have no association with the operator.

The Bus Network

MPT bus Marsaxlokk

For such a small island, there are a large number of bus routes, and you are never very far from a bus stop. Frequencies are good on the main routes, but less so on other routes, and it often pays to check timetables. You can find more about timetables further down this page.

There is some logic to the route numbering system. TD routes are branded Tallinja Direct and are non-stop or limited stop routes linking key points at a higher fare. Routes prefixed X are also limited stop but call at more places than the TD routes and normal fares are charged: X4 links Valletta with the Airport and beyond, whilst X1 to X3 link the Airport with Cirkewwa, Sliema and Bugibba respectively. One and two digit numbers, that is numbers in the series 1-99, run to and from Valletta bus station, and run roughly in geographical order in an anti-clockwise direction around Valletta. Numbers in the 100s and 200s are generally routes not serving Valletta (but see exceptions below). All Gozo bus services are numbered in the 300s. Finally, the network of Night Routes linking various parts of Malta with the bars, clubs and restaurants of San Giljan (the stop formerly known as Paceville) are numbered in the N series and run on Friday and Saturday nights, although the Valletta service runs every night.

There are a few exceptions to the rule: Valletta local routes are numbered 130 and 133, whilst route 122 runs from Valletta to Mater Dei Hospital. Also, to confuse matters further, three routes in the 2xx series which used to terminate at Mater Dei Hospital have been extended through to Valletta. A recent development is the introduction of an on-demand minibus service branded TD Plus which operates between Valletta and the Sliema, St Julian's and Pembroke area; trips are booked using the Tallinja app.

Tripadvisor has a well researched article on bus services in Malta which lists the bus services serving the main attractions.

Fares and Tickets

To travel on Maltese buses you can either (1) use cash to buy fixed price single tickets from the driver; (2) save money by buying a 12 Single Journeys Card from an MPT kiosk or other outlet; or (3) buy a 7-day Explore Card or ExplorePlus Meep Card. A fourth option is the tallinja smartcard which is aimed at residents but may also benefit regular or long-term visitors. These options are explained below:

The only ticket available from the bus driver is the two-hour single ticket which costs €2.00 in summer reduced to €1.50 in winter. In 2020 the summer fare applied from June 14th until October 17th. Routes prefixed TD (Tallinja Direct) are faster limited-stop services which have a single fare of €3.00. On Night buses (routes prefixed by N) the single fare is also €3.00. There are no discounts for children except that children aged under 4 years travel free. Contactless credit or debit cards (also smartphones or smartwatches) can now be used to pay for tickets, whilst those using cash must pay with the exact fare as no change is given.

Passengers may change buses within the two hour period to get to their destination as part of a one-way journey. Scan the ticket on the reader when boarding the second bus. The ticket does not allow you to make a return trip, even if wholly within the two hour period. Of course, penalty fares are payable if you travel without a valid ticket.

Also available is a card giving 12 single tickets for €15, making €1.25 per journey. It has to be purchased in advance (see below) in the form of a non-personalised tallinja card and each passenger swipes the card on the card reader on entering the bus. It can be used by more than one person for the same journey (for example, swipe the card twice if there are two of you). On TD (Tallinja Direct) services and on Night buses (routes prefixed by N) you have to pay double (€2.50), so two journeys will be taken off the card. The card is valid for a year and can be passed on to family and friends for their use too.

The Explore Card gives seven days of unlimited bus travel on all routes in Malta and Gozo except the limited stop TD (Tallinja Direct) routes. It costs €21 (children aged 4-10 pay €15). You buy it in advance (see below) and swipe the card on each bus journey. It is valid for seven days from the day the card is first validated on the bus. It is not transferable to other people. It can also be used on the demand responsive TD Plus minibus service booked on the Tallinja App, and also includes free 30 minutes on Tallinja bike, the electric bike-sharing platform in Valletta and surrounding areas. There is also a discount on Ioscoot, the electric motorbike sharing service available in the St. Julian’s, Sliema and Valletta area (currently suspended).

The ExplorePlus Meep Card also gives unlimited bus travel for seven days, but unlike the regular Explore Card it is also valid on TD routes, and there are additional sightseeing options. It costs €39; there is no child reduction. The sightseeing extras are as follows:
bulletTwo one-way trips on the ferries operated by Valletta Ferry Services (Sliema - Valletta and/or the Three Cities route between Valletta and Cospicua).
bulletA full-day's travel on the hop-on, hop-off buses operated by CitySightseeing Malta visiting Malta’s landmarks (excludes Gozo), OR one round trip to Comino by boat, operated by Captain Morgan Cruises (in Winter this is the Best of Gozo and Comino trip).
bulletTwo free trips on Tallinja Bike, the electric bike-sharing service in Valletta and surrounding areas.

If you are not interested in the sightseeing extras but just want bus travel you could of course buy the regular Explore Card and pay individual fares when you use TD services (€3 per journey), but if you intend to make more than five trips on TD services during the seven days then the ExplorePlus Meep Card is better value.

You can buy the 12 Single Journeys Card and the 7-day Explore cards from Malta Public Transport kiosks, which are located at Valletta bus station, Bugibba bus station, Malta International Airport, Sliema Ferries, and the Gozo bus terminus at Victoria bus station, or from various other outlets which includes shops, lotto offices, and some hotels.

Local residents and frequent travellers can obtain the tallinja smartcard. Tallinja is a personalised stored-value card which basically allows the named cardholder to make each single journey (within two hours) for €0.75, or €2.50 for a night journey and €1.50 for a journey on Tallinja Direct services. A monthly version costs €26 (there is also an automatic cap so nobody pays more than €26 per month, though the cap excludes TD services and Night services). There are further discounts (Maltese residents only) for senior citizens, students and children. For new cards there is a €15 registration fee, and a minimum top-up amount of €20.

Non-residents can apply for a card giving a foreign address, but two weeks must be allowed for delivery and there is a €8 postage charge to addresses outside Malta. Have a scan of your passport and a passport-sized photo ready before applying online. Only frequent or long-term visitors would benefit from obtaining a card.

Maps of Bus Routes

Gozo bus map

PRINCIPAL ROUTES of interest to tourists are shown on this independently produced map (not my map but linked with permission).

For those requiring more detail I have produced the following maps in pdf format. Note, however, that TD and Night routes remain suspended as at May 2021 due to Covid-19.

MAP 1 - Valletta routes. Bus routes linking areas of Malta with Valletta.

MAP 1A - Valletta routes: Central area. An enlargement of the central area of Map 1 showing routes to/from Valletta.

MAP 2 - Other routes (those not serving Valletta): to and from Sliema, Airport, Hospital, University etc, also local routes.

MAP 2A - Other routes: Central area. An enlargement of the central area of Map 2 (routes not serving Valletta).

GOZO - includes a general frequency guide (but see below for detailed timetables).

BUGIBBA Bus Map including all bus stops in the Bugibba, Qawra and St Paul's Bay area.

VALLETTA Bus Station location plan and list of departure bays.

The official MPT map seems to be unavailable on their website but here is a version from 2016. It's mostly still valid but excludes the TD routes.

Bus Timetables

OFFICIAL TIMETABLES on the MPT website show individual routes - you need to know the route number. There is also a rough guide to the temporary service frequencies which may not be totally up to date. There is no official timetable book; timetable leaflets have been produced in the past but printed information is likely to be restricted to a route map.

DIGITAL TIMETABLES - The Tallinja App can be downloaded to your smartphone from the iPhone App Store or the Google Play Store. This shows which routes serve your closest stop, and also shows realtime information with the estimated time of arrival of buses at your nearest stop within the next 30 minutes. Google maps also has detailed timings from many bus stops. Particularly useful is the Google Maps app on Android and Apple devices where most stops show the next 25 departures, and individual timings can be clicked on to show the whole journey with timings at every stop served. The official JOURNEY PLANNER is getting better but it is difficult to get meaningful information from it.

TIMETABLE SUMMARY - due to the lack of official printed timetables I do produce from time to time my own 24-page unofficial timetable summary in pdf format for this website. Due to the pandemic and the temporary timetables in force I have not produced a current timetable but will attempt to do so at some point if and when things settle down. The latest one available is here: MALTA & GOZO unofficial bus timetable - January 2020. It shows all bus routes in Malta and Gozo in numerical order (more or less), with departure times from the start points, also approximate journey times to principal intermediate points are shown as a rough guide. It is compiled by myself to assist travellers and enthusiasts. Even though the timings are not current, the route descriptions remain valid so may still be of use.

WARNING - Scheduled running times as shown on the MPT website generally vary according to the time of day and day of the week, also the time of year (and in some cases look rather suspect and inconsistent). Journey times shown in the timetable summary are based on typical summer off-peak timings (Monday to Friday early afternoon). At quiet times, for example early morning, late evening or on Sundays, buses are liable to depart from intermediate points several minutes earlier, and at peak times they may run later than shown. In any case, once a bus has set off from its start point I'm not sure to what extent drivers adhere to intermediate timings en route - it's always best to arrive at the stop in plenty of time, or arm yourself with the Tallinja App which gives realtime information.

SEASONAL SUMMER CHANGES - The following routes are extended to popular beaches each summer: 49 is extended from Ghadira to Armier, 101 is extended from Mgarr to Gnejna Bay and 109 is extended from Bajjada to Ghar Lapsi, whilst 74 runs down the hill to and from Blue Grotto en route. Several routes have enhanced frequencies, notably 221/222/223/225. In 2019 the summer schedules were in force from June 9 to October 5, with frequencies further enhanced on certain routes between July 7 and October 5 (2019 dates are shown as 2020 was obviously not a typical year).

RECENT CHANGES - for those interested in past route changes I have started a list of recent changes to bus routes in Malta and Gozo.

Temporary Diversions

The nature of the road network is such that bus routes are frequently diverted because of roadworks or special events, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for weeks or months. It is beyond the scope of this website to mention all but the longest term diversions. You can find details on the Service Updates page of the Malta Public Transport website.


I couldn't do this without the masses of information produced by the enthusiast fraternity on various web forums and in the magazine MTN. You know who you are! I am also grateful to Malta Public Transport whose online information is now very good, and to individual bus owners and drivers who, in ATP days prior to 2011, helped to expand my knowledge of what was then a poorly documented subject.

Malta by Bus is an unofficial website provided by transport enthusiast Brendan Fox of Peterborough, United Kingdom. All information is given in good faith but no guarantees can be given for accuracy. I have no links with any bus operator or the Maltese government. All photos are by Brendan Fox, except for the first photo in the banner which is an MPT image. The bus badges in the logo are from a photo by Karen Dexter. All content on this site is copyright © Brendan Fox.

© Brendan Fox  www.maltabybus.com  2007-2021