| James Kon |
IN THE hope of improving the current public bus service network, the Ministry of Communications is in the process of further reviewing the setting up of a public bus consortium after continuous dialogue between the Land Transport Department and the public bus operators.
The latest move to improving the public transport network was reiterated by the Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, in his speech yesterday during the foundation-laying ceremony for the Muara Bus Terminal.
The bus terminal, which will cost over $1.8 million to build, is located at Jln Pelabuhan Muara, and is set to be completed by March next year.
He said that some of the public bus services do not meet the requirements of the public. “The Ministry of Communications, through the Land Transport Department, carried out a continuous survey on the quality of our public transportation services. From the public feedback, it was found that some of the services still do not meet the public requirements, which include issues regarding the frequency of buses, punctuality and consistency of services.”
The minister continued, “The issue of inadequate public bus facilities, such as bus stops, are still being faced at a number of locations along the various bus routes. The Ministry of Communications is well-informed of the issue, and the Land Transport Department is taking the matter seriously.
“Efforts to further improve the public bus service are currently underway, especially through continuous discussions between the Land Transport Department and public bus operators. Following the discussions, efforts in setting up a public bus consortium, as I stressed last year, are currently underway, and this will be further reviewed by the Ministry of Communications,” he revealed.
The minister also highlighted that public bus transportation is currently the first choice of alternative transportation. Steps towards providing better public bus transportation are in line with the strategies and policies within the Land Transport Master Plan.
Speaking about the Land Transport Master Plan, the minister said, “The master plan has already been completed and is ready to be implemented, taking into account the projected growth in population and the Sultanate’s economy by 2035. The aim of the master plan is to provide a sustainable land transport system and to ensure that the country’s public transport is reliable, conducive, safe and environmentally friendly.”
As per the Land Transport Master Plan, four main strategies have been proposed to be implemented by 2035 and beyond.
The minster outlined that the four strategies are: to reduce car dependency, to keep traffic moving, to achieve sustainable society and to strengthen governance.
He also revealed that the Land Transport Master Plan white paper will be launched soon.
Before concluding, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah reiterated the need for relevant government agencies as well as the private sector to together support the efforts to upgrade and improve the public transport system in the country.