Mowasalat is working with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning to redesign bus routes to cope with the massive infrastructure developments in the country, a senior official of the company has said.
The ongoing road works and construction projects have been putting hurdles on the public transport system, making it less attractive to the passengers, according to Nasser Al Khanji, business development and strategy director at Mowasalat.
He said the number of people using public buses had not grown proportionate to the growth in the population in the country.
“Currently, an average 60,000 people use the public buses daily and this number remains more or less static. And the labourers still form the huge majority of the passengers,” said Al Khanji.
He said there was a need to redesign the routes and the stops most of which were decided when the bus service was introduced in Qatar about a decade ago.
“The rapid changes in the traffic infrastructure has made many of the existing routes and stops irrelevant. They need to be redesigned and integrated with the metro and railway projects coming up in the country. We are having frequent meetings with the urban development authorities to discuss this issue,” said Al Khanji.
The hectic road works and traffic bottlenecks have become a major stumbling block for the public transport. For instance, the Salwa road, which was once a busy route for public buses is now almost deserted due to the massive road works going on there.
In his view, a series of futuristic measures are required to popularise public transport in the country. The first factor is the time. People would opt for public transport if it takes less time to reach a destination compared to a private car.
“A major problem now is that public buses don’t help people to reach the end destination. This can be addressed through an integration of different modes of transport and providing taxi ranks in all key points. Bus stops should be redistributed in areas that generate more traffic and the buses and taxis should be made easily available to the public through increasing the number as well as the frequency,” said Al Khanji.
He said dedicated lanes for buses and traffic lights that give priority to public transport are some of the proposals under consideration to make their services faster.
The official said the shortage of taxis would be addressed with three private companies now being given permission to operate taxis. The first company, Al Million will launch its first fleet of taxis very soon, he added.
“We have received a few samples of their taxis for verification. We will soon give the final approval, after ensuring that they meet all the Mowasalat requirements and specifications” said Al Khanji.
Asked it there is any plan to fully privatize the taxi service in future, he said Mowasalat would continue to operate its own fleet of taxis to serve some key locations and destinations.
source: The Peninsula
You must be logged in to post a comment.