Fares and Tickets
To travel on buses in Malta and Gozo you can either:
- Use cash or contactless cards 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.
- Apply online for a personalised tallinja card, which gives free travel on most buses (aimed at local residents but may also benefit regular or long-term visitors).
These options are all explained below:
Two-hour single tickets from driver
The only ticket available from the bus driver is the two-hour single ticket which costs €2.00. However, Tallinja Direct routes (prefixed TD, also route X300) 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.
Contactless Visa, Mastercard and Maestro credit or debit cards (also smartphones and smartwatches) can be used to pay for tickets, whilst those using cash must pay with the exact fare as no change is given. There are no discounts for children except that children travel free up to their fourth birthday.
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 the passenger swipes the card on the card reader on entering the bus. It can only be used by one person (note that the rules have changed - you can no longer swipe it twice if there are two of you).
On TD (Tallinja Direct) services (including X300) 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 six months from first use.
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.
From 1st October 2022, holders of a personalised tallinja card travel free on all daytime and night buses, apart from TD routes. The card can only be applied for online. For new cards there is a €15 registration fee plus €2.87 postage within Malta. Allow two weeks for delivery. Non-residents can apply for a card giving a foreign address; 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.
Tallinja cards are stored-value cards and credit will be required on the card to use it for TD routes, Tallinja On Demand services, and the local ferry services. You can also use your credit to pay for trips operated by Vintage Bus City Tours.
Passengers must tap in with their card when entering the bus, using the card reader. Personalised Tallinja cards have a photo and can only be used by the registered user. Whilst primarily aimed at residents, frequent or long-term visitors would obviously benefit from obtaining a card.