Fares and Tickets
To travel on buses in Malta and Gozo you can either:
- Use cash to buy fixed price single tickets from the driver (this is the most expensive option, and the only ticket available from the driver).
- Save money by buying a 12 Single Journeys Card from an MPT kiosk, dispensing machine or other outlet.
- Buy a 7-day Explore Card for unlimited bus travel, except on the limited stop TD routes.
- Buy a 7-day ExplorePlus Meep Card which includes the TD routes and some tourist extras.
- Use a stored-value non-personalised Explore Flex card giving discounts on bus fares and the local Valletta ferries.
- Use a stored-value personalised tallinja smartcard (aimed at local residents but may also benefit regular or long-term visitors).
These options are all explained below (updated May 2022):
Two-hour single tickets from driver
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. Summer fares apply between mid-June and mid-October (June 11th to October 9th in 2021).
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 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.
Card for 12 single two-hour tickets
This card gives 12 single tickets for €15, making €1.25 per journey. It has to be purchased in advance (see below for outlets) 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.
Explore Card (7 days)
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 and the Tallinja On Demand (formerly TD Plus) prebookable minibuses. It costs €21 (children aged 4-10 pay €15). You buy it in advance (see below for outlets) and swipe the card on each bus journey. It is valid for seven days (actually 168 hours) from the time the card is first validated on the bus. It is not transferable to other people.
ExplorePlus Meep Card (7 days with extras)
The ExplorePlus Meep Card also gives unlimited bus travel for seven days (168 hours from first validation), but unlike the regular Explore Card it is also valid on the limited stop TD (Tallinja Direct) routes, also the Tallinja On Demand prebookable minibuses, plus there are additional sightseeing options as listed below. It costs €39; there is no child reduction.
The sightseeing extras are as follows:
- Two one-way trips on the ferries operated by Valletta Ferry Services (Sliema - Valletta and/or the Three Cities route between Valletta and Cospicua).
- A full-day's travel on the hop-on, hop-off open top 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) OR a harbour cruise on Captain Morgan Cruises.
- Two free trips on Tallinja Bike, the electric bike-sharing service in Valletta and surrounding areas.
- A discount of €2 on Malta 5D shows (shows are every 30 minutes 1000-1630 on Mon-Sat at 7 Old Bakery Street, 5 mins walk from Valletta Bus Station).
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.
Explore Flex Card
The Explore Flex card is a stored value non-personalised card giving discounts on bus fares and the local ferries operated by Valletta Ferry Services. It can be linked to the Tallinja app, allowing you to check your credit and top up your card. Initial cost is €6, which is your credit to use immediately. The link above lists the fares you pay compared to normal fares.
Where to buy
You can buy the 12 Single Journeys Card and Explore cards from Malta Public Transport kiosks and card dispensing machines. Kiosks are located at Valletta bus station, Malta International Airport, and the Gozo bus terminus at Victoria bus station. They are also available 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 child version (ages 4 to 10) is available giving a single fare of €0.25. For new cards there is a €15 registration fee, and a minimum top-up amount of €20 (€10 for child cards).
There are further discounts for Maltese senior citizens and students registered on courses in Malta. There is an automatic cap so nobody pays more than €26 per month, though the cap excludes TD services and Night services. The cap on the child card is €0.50 per day and €2 per week.
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.