On Thursday Sept 24, the working group consisting of the advisors to the Commissioner of Economic Affairs, Tourism and Transportation, Sports and Aviation, and the staff of the Transportation Division and Policy and Research met with the respective counterparts and technocrats from the French side.
A presentation was given regarding our transportation system and legal aspects in general.
The other topics discussed were: the transportation system, a policy vision, the legal overview, proposed changes, information exchange, and international routes.
Present at the meeting were representatives from both sides of the island’s respective departments of economics and transportation.
The current system was described as being individually driven, profit oriented versus being social conducive, and there are limited service areas and coverage in less profitable areas. In addition, there is limited infrastructure in terms of bus stops & terminals.
But there are new ideas about improving the system, the policy vision of which are:
§ To promote reliable and efficient public transport with the formulation of new guidelines, regulations and an improved system of control and enforcement.
§ To maximize public mobility, provide comprehensive and accessible coverage to all areas.
§ To anticipate and rectify congestion problems, educate the public & change behaviour (commuter) and encourage alternatives to private vehicles.
According to the officials presenting the Island Ordinance of 30 December 1969, provides the legal foundation governing and regulating the existing public transportation system; while Abham of 24 August 1970, provides the legal foundation governing the safety and security with regards to public transportation (Bus, Taxi, Driver)
The proposed strategic changes are as follows:
§ Restructuring PTC & upgrading secretariat
§ Establish official domestic routes and corresponding color code
§ Establish new interior routes (due to new road development)
§ Establish maximum number of bus operators per route
§ Establish Yearly Fee requirement & penalty structure
§ Implement blue card, safety, training, code of conduct & educational requirements
§ New infrastructures [bus stops, terminal (s)]
The two sides discussed: standards, requirements/samples, capacity, tariffs, documents, International & Interior Routes, a publicity campaign, and cooperation needed between the two governments.
Accordingly, the discussions are preliminary and much needs to be discussed in the future. However, the meeting was fruitful and within short the two groups shall meet again.