All Malta buses immediately prior to the 2011 reform were single-deckers, with bus or coach bodies.Early buses did not have many common transit bus features, with route numbers displayed using white cards.The overall transport system is regulated under the Malta Transport Authority (ADT).In December 2003, in light of over 100 buses being scrapped, a government subsidised tour bus service using traditional Malta buses, as the "Visit Malta bus", was set up by the tourism and transport ministries, although this was withdrawn in April 2005.Between 19 the fleet was drastically modernised with the import of over 260 second hand buses from the United Kingdom.Many of the oldest buses in the fleet were further replaced with the influx of 150 new low-floor buses from China and Turkey, financed with government grant aid, leaving just three normal control vehicles.Due to the nature of operation of Malta buses, many of the drivers were also mechanics, and a high number of Malta buses proudly displayed the name of the manufacturer of the chassis or body of the bus, or the engine type used.
As an iconic feature of the island, the classic Malta bus features on several tourist related items.
To ensure fair distribution of both good and bad routes, the daily operation of buses was allocated on a rota basis, with buses operating on a 'day on, day off' basis, whereby one day half of the buses operate on the public routes, while the other half were used for private hire, or as school buses, or undergo maintenance.
Malta buses on public transport duties were seen in high concentrations at the main City Gate Square bus terminus at Valletta surrounding the Triton Fountain, from where the vast majority of scheduled routes departed.
In 1975 buses were painted green, and from 1995 vehicles carried in a yellow (lower) and white (upper) livery, relieved by a red band just below the window line.
Gozo buses were grey with a red band below the window.