Rotta sits down with Dennis Micallef to reminisce about his father driving the old Gozo mail bus.
In a bid to immortalise Malta’s automotive heritage, Facebook page Rotta often interviews individuals that have been impacted by the country’s vehicular history.
This time round, it was the son of a former Gozo Mail bus driver’s turn to teach us some history!
Decades ago, Dennis would accompany his father as he drove two Birkirkara buses. Turns out he was quite the handful for his mother, and he always behaved better whilst out on the road.
Dennis jokingly reminisces about the time when his father would put him on his lap and pretend to let him drive around.
“These are memories which I’ll cherish forever because I can’t experience them anymore”, he fondly recalls.
After some time, Dennis’ father ended up leaving his Birkirkara bus-driving job to drive the Gozo Mail bus instead. This way, he was allowed to enjoy Sundays off and spend more time with his family.
The Gozo Mail bus would leave from Valletta for a 45-minute journey to Marfa. Dennis fondly remembers how, sometimes, his father would be given the mail late, prompting him to “drive like crazy” to make it to Marfa in time!
The interviewee proceeds to bring up Rafel – an elderly gentleman who used to collect the shilling-and-a-pence fee from those looking to get a ride on the Gozo Mail bus.
Dennis recalls how some Gozitans would give Rafael a hard time by only giving him a shilling and leaving him begging for the remaining pence!
It seems like the interviewee’s got plenty of stories to tell about Rafael – perhaps the funniest one being about how he’d fall asleep on the bus steps and almost fall off when the vehicle would be making a turn.
Years later, after Dennis’ father stopped driving the Gozo Mail bus, the interviewee recalls how he’d go to Valletta and spot his father’s bus again, donning a couple of superficial differences.
This certainly makes us think about how the times have changed here in Malta when it comes to public transport!
Do you remember the Gozo Mail bus?