Tick­et­ing sys­tem to change as smaller boats pick up pas­sen­gers

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - Re­becca Iversen

Gozo Chan­nel is to change its tick­et­ing sys­tem in an ef­fort to pre­vent smaller pri­vate boats pick­ing up pas­sen­gers in Mġarr, Gozo, and tak­ing them back to Malta so that such pas­sen­gers do not pay Gozo Chan­nel for their jour­ney from Malta to Gozo.

Both tourists and res­i­dents have been seen ar­riv­ing in Gozo on Gozo Chan­nel’s fer­ries but not us­ing them for the re­turn jour­ney, with the smaller boats charg­ing a cheaper, one- way fare to bring them back to Malta.

Con­se­quently, these peo­ple are then not pay­ing Gozo Chan­nel for the jour­ney since tick­ets for the jour­ney in both di­rec­tions are al­ways pur­chased when leav­ing Mġarr, Gozo.

Gozo Chan­nel chair­man Joseph Cor­dina told The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day that the com­pany is aware of the problem. He ex­plained that it has been go­ing on for sev­eral years and in­creases sub­stan­tially dur­ing the sum­mer months, with groups of small boats dock­ing near the Mġarr ter­mi­nal in Gozo and pick­ing up pas­sen­gers re­turn­ing to Malta.

When asked what had been done to tackle the sit­u­a­tion, Cor­dina said that when Gozo Chan­nel con­tacted Trans­port Malta, they had been told that, quite sim­ply, there was not much they could do to con­trol and pa­trol every sin­gle boat that came into the port to check if they were bring­ing over pas­sen­gers who had ar­rived with the Gozo Chan­nel ferry.

Cor­dina spoke about the tick­et­ing sys­tem, which he re­ferred to as “un­be­liev­able” since the ter­mi­nal in Cirkewwa had not been built to have a tick­et­ing sys­tem: “It is un­be­liev­able how it was built be­cause there is no way to im­ple­ment a tick­et­ing sys­tem at the mo­ment.”

He also said that Gozo Chan­nel will is­sue a ten­der in or­der to make some al­ter­ations to the ter­mi­nal to ac­com­mo­date a tick­et­ing sys­tem. What changes will be made to the tick­et­ing sys­tem is still un­der con­sul­ta­tion.

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