| Lyna Mohamad |
THE rate of public transportation usage in Brunei Darussalam stands way too low compared to Singapore or some of the Middle Eastern countries, as Brunei faces the challenge of reducing car dependency with the average time of travel during peak hours expected to increase from 27 minutes in 2012 to 67 minutes in 2035.
The Director of Land Transport Department (LTD), Dr Haji Supry bin Haji Ladi, said the rate of public transportation usage in the country stands at seven passengers trip per capita per annum compared to Singapore (615), Hong Kong (612), Edinburgh (247), Dubai (82), Kuwait (36) and Abu Dhabi (34).
Meanwhile, Brunei ranks at the top in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and fourth in the world for carbon dioxide emission per capita with the country emitting 22 per cent, and petrol prices are the 11th lowest (12th lowest for diesel) in the world.
These statistics were shared by the Director of LTD during a meeting with members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) regarding the Land Transport Master Plan, which was held at the Ministry of Communications.
Surveys carried out on the level of public satisfaction pertaining to transportation in the Sultanate recorded 45 per cent of road users being satisfied with their journey time, 35 per cent dissatisfied and the remaining 25 per cent perceiving the duration of time it takes them to travel to their destination as being fine.
Meanwhile, 60 per cent public transport users are content with the cost of travel and 10 per cent are unhappy with the public fares.
Problems that the bus system in Brunei Darussalam faces and drastically need to be improved are its unreliable service, poor physical conditions, lack of bus stop accessibility, lack of public subsidy, short operation hours, limited information readily available to the public and concerns over employing foreign workers.
Immediate changes that must be implemented, based on the master plan, include upgrading and improving the bus system’s frequency, punctuality, coverage, connectivity, image, and related facilities such as a public transport interchange.
Sections of roads that were surveyed based on suggestions were Route 1 to BSB (Tungku Link); Route 3 to BSB (Jalan Gadong-Jangsak); and Route 5 to BSB (Jalan Tutong-Bunut).
Future challenges will include transportation costs per driver on a daily basis during peak hours rising from $7.96 in 2012 to $18.97 in 2035, average time of travel during peak hours is expected to increase from 27 minutes in 2012 to 67 minutes in 2035 and the average distance travelled during peak hours will increase from 18.3km in 2012 to 22.5km in 2035.
The four main strategies identified to tackle these challenges are reducing car dependency, keeping traffic flowing, achieving a sustainable society and strengthening governance.
Policy recommendations and follow-up actions aside from the establishment of a Park and Ride facility include creation of new water transport routes, improving the current bus system, upgrading taxi and water transportation services, provision of regulated parking, car park pricing and management, charging road users a toll and a detailed study on fuel subsidies.
The establishment of a committee for supporting strategies and the proposed establishment of a Transport for Brunei Authority are also recommended in the master plan.