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Map of proposed metro system for Malta, Source: Moving Malta

Gozo workers and tourism providers want metro, not car tunnel with Malta

Gozo workers and tourism providers want metro, not car tunnel with Malta

The proposed three-line subway system with 25 stations excludes the sister island

The Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) has criticised the government’s proposal to build a tunnel for vehicles between Malta and Gozo, saying it should be integrated instead with the proposed metro system on the mainland.

“Gozo does not need a tunnel for vehicles, but Gozo deserves to be connected with Malta in the right way,” the association said on Friday in a statement, quoted by the Times of Malta.

Metro viability pegged to Gozo’s population increase

The GTA referred to the Labour government’s plan for a three-line underground metro system with 25 stations around Malta which, however, does not extend to Gozo. The association asked why the proposed 5 km tunnel under the seabed between the two islands was not being linked with the proposed metro system.

The government has explained that Gozo's population (33,388 residents as of 2020) must increase by a further 50,000 people to make a metro line financially feasible. But the GTA argues that this reasoning is unfounded, as Gozo's population swells manifold by domestic and foreign visits, especially in the active tourist season. 

The association pointed out that in the pre-pandemic 2019 Gozo received 215,272 domestic and 180,978 foreign guests for at least one night, with a further 1.5 million foreign tourists making a day trip to the sister island. 

National Statistical Office data also showed that, in 2020, the number of Gozitan residents working in Malta reached 3,284.  In 2019, 1,654 Gozitan students were also commuting to Malta to complete their tertiary education.

Were the metro planners aware of these numbers when conducting their research for the system, asked the association.

Gozo workers in Malta feel discriminated against

Tourism providers are not alone in their resentment for Gozo’s exclusion from the proposed metro system. Just days ago, the Association for Gozitan Employees working in Malta (AGEM) stated that the plans for the underground metro system discriminate against Gozitans, especially those who are daily commuters.  

Currently, Gozo and Malta are connected by ships only. A new fast ferry service was launched on 1 June this year with two operators using four catamarans. Recently, the government has also promised an air-link as part of its strategy for Gozo.

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