PUBLIC transportation continues to be one of the most important factors in any successful urban development.
More importantly is its impact to the economy where an effective transportation network not only improves the cities by making it more livable, but also improves accessibility which can help ease commutes and transportation needs.
For any transportation network to be effective, the reliance should not be only on any single factor.
For example, the mere number of buses will not be successful.
The accessibility of the route should also be determined, the connectivity of the routes, the pricing structure, the technology being implemented and the ease of use.
An effective bus network system would need the cohesion of all these factors.
Coming back to Brunei, the current bus network system can be better.
Alhamdulillah, the Land Transport Department (JPD) recently acknowledged that there are gaps within the effective application of the public transportation system.
According to the JPD, they are pushing for technology-based solutions in increasing the reliability of the network.
It should be acknowledged that the government through the JPD invested a lot of effort, time and money into improve the bus network.
Perhaps, it may be time to create an entity to manage all aspects of the public transportation system needs; perhaps a public transport council?
This council perhaps can act as the advisor to the government as to how to improve the system and incorporate all the above factors.
According to the JPD, currently there are only six bus operators in the country with over 100 busses in operation.
JPD added that the country needs at least 200 buses for the bus network to be effective.
This adds more strength to the earlier argument where an effective public network system will be able to contribute to the economy.
The network simply needs more companies to be involved.
Why can’t there be 60 companies interested in operating the bus networks?
The JPD further mentioned that they are currently adding new routes and tendering them out to the public.
Commercialising the routes is one of the best ways to improve the bus networks.
Perhaps, rather than only tendering it out, it may be a good idea to also include a minimum age of the buses itself, the condition of the buses, the need for strict adherence to the schedule timing of the bus stops.
This may perhaps add more strength to the reliability and perception of the bus networks in Brunei.
In ensuring the continuation of an effective bus network system, the implementation of the above factors is only the starting point.
The enforcement of the requirements being laid out during the tendering is also equally as important.
At the end of the day, we all want the same thing – an effective, reliable and comfortable public transport system.
– Bru Bernanke