Gozo University Group (GUG) have expressed their approval of the addition of a new ferry to the Gozo channel fleet some time next year which Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana spoke about during this week’s Question and Answer session “Gvern li Jisma’”. GUG believe that this would facilitate crossing between the islands as the shuttle service could still operate when ferries are in repair.
On the other hand, they pointed out that this is not a long-term solution, and a survey they conducted suggests that students would rather have a faster ferry than another ferry. They claimed they believe a solution that would benefit the Gozitans indefinitely would be the tunnel connecting Malta and Gozo. The addition of a fourth ferry to the Gozo channel fleet was proposed by the Gozo Buisness Chamber before the 2017 budget. It was proposed in light of the fact that the current ferries are operating at capacities never seen before, which means that they require more frequent maintenance, and that the tunnel connections’ operational starting date is targeted at post-2020. They also said that this vessel need not be a built-for-purpose expensive vessel as it would be simply filling in the gaps.
Last May, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claimed the tunnel project “..can be done. And it is feasible.”. A study led by Dr Marvin Formosa, chairperson of the National Commission of Active ageing, showed that 82% of Gozitans are in favour of the tunnel project, while 13% were against it, with the majority of the latter being elderly.