eCabs CEO Andrew Bezzina has proposed the introduction of on-street parking fees as a means of reducing traffic congestion in Malta’s high-density urban areas.
This comes after Dr Bezzina was a guest during TVMNews+ programme Insights on Thursday, which focused on the various challenges that the Maltese population is facing with regards to traffic congestion and limited parking spaces.
During the programme, he highlighted how private transport “should not be completely excluded”, but instead a “policy of inclusion” needs to be adopted, where other modes of travel available to complete the same trip are considered. Dr Bezzina added that policymakers have encouraged different means of travel over recent years, yet it is now time to be more forceful.
One change that he pointed out needs to be “implemented immediately” is that of parking, which is the “main thing which conditions our use of private vehicles”.
“If I know that where I’m going I’ll find parking spaces, I will most probably use my private car. On the other hand, if I’m going to Valletta, where I know that there’s a residence parking scheme and a lack of parking spots, I will have to think about how I will go there,” he added.
Additionally, he explained that a curb-side parking spot is essentially there “instead of something else”. “A white parking spot could easily be a wider pavement, which means that who decides to walk, has a much more enjoyable time. When we are dedicating a space for a car to be parked next to a pavement, we are doing it at the expense of something else. That same parking spot could for example be a bicycle or scooter lane,” he continued.
Turning to whether curb-side parking should come at a cost, Dr Bezzina believes that this should be the case, similar to what is “done in other European cities”, as “certain localities, such as Valletta, Sliema and St Julian’s”, should have such a measure in place.
Posting on social media on Friday following the programme, he delved into further detail, stating that “free street parking comes at a cost”.
“Every curb-side white box in Malta takes up public real estate that could otherwise be dedicated to wider walkways, trees, and cycle lanes,” he explained, before questioning whether it is time to start charging for such on-street parking in high-density urban areas.
He concluded by asking: “what lessons can we glean from other European cities that have already experimented with urban parking policies?”
Traffic congestion remains a problem across the Maltese Islands, with multiple cases of standstill traffic being reported on a weekly basis. This has prompted concerns not only from people travelling for work, but also for parents that need to take their children to examination centres for their respective O-Level and A-Level examinations.
eCabs CEO Andrew Bezzina / LinkedIn
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