This post is useful for backpackers, travel nomads, explorers who travel to explore the city, food, culture & the people. Rest can simply skip or read to gain knowledge.
Transportation in the Maldives is by far the easiest to understand compared to other countries. Simply because of its geography (with tiny bits of islands) and compact infrastructure. Moreover, very few islands are dominant and developed with facilities where public transportation is practiced.
Today! We focus on the Greater Male’ ring where two-third (⅔) of the population live and work utilizing public transportation. In fact, most offices, Head Quarters, restaurant brands… etc., are operated within this ring structure. Greater Male’ covers four islands;
- Male’ (capital island)
- Hulhumale’ (developed and well-organized island) & Hulhule’ (the airport island)
- Thilafushi (Industrial zone island)
- Villingili (Inhabited environmental island)
Transport Modes in Greater Male’
Public is left with a few options to travel within the island and in-between the islands conveniently. Guests & Tourists are able to utilize the same benefit as the public does. Price varies between MVR 3 to MVR 100 approx (1 USD = 15.42 MVR) for traveling. Some are public and the rest is pretty much private but can be used by the public (over a hire, booking… etc.).
- Taxi service (selected islands)
- Bus service (selected islands)
- Ferry service (selected islands)
- Motor-cycle service (Uber like, introduced since 2019)
- Car Service (Uber like, new introduced since 2019)
On a separate note, below are either privately hired, operated or open to use (depending on the occasion);
- Yacht & Maldivian “Dhoni”
- Domestic Air Transfer
Key Transport Entities
MTCC (Maldives Transport and Contracting Company Plc) manages public transport operations in Greater Male’ region. MPL (Maldives Ports Limited) started its transportation with the opening of the bridge (Sinamale’ bridge) between Male’ city to Hulhumale’ and Hulhule’ city. MTCC however, is in the business since the 1980s and operates majorly the public Ferry services. Sinamale’ bridge project opened infinite opportunities to the Taxi drivers/operators to transport passengers between islands. Passenger never felt more convenient than traveling on a ferry over the sea. The ferry ride isn’t really bad on a calming sunny day.
MTCC offered bus service around Male’ city a few years ago, but not in operation any longer. Reasons are not known to my knowledge but they continue to offer their regular ferry services across islands. In fact, the bus service continues within Hulhumale’ city to date. MTCC also offers “Dhathuru” card service since 2013 but only for ferry service between Hulhumale to Male’, vice versa. The transport giant extended the card between Male’ to Villingili since 2019.
MPL went one-step ahead enabling the “TouchLink” card service since January 2019. By November 2019, MPL announced its withdrawal of the regular ticket offerings while imposing the passengers to use their card for ease of operation. As of July 2021, MPL handed over its operation completely to MTCC.
Upon the take over MTCC expanded the bus operation widely between Male’, Hulhule’ & Hulhumale’.