Categorized | National News

Unified Bus System “A Priority”

Although the Christie administration is putting the finishing touches on a unified busing system, it is unlikely that that will be completed by the new school year.

Talks of having such a system began in 2006 under the previous Christie administration.

It’s meant to create a system where all bus operators are under one entity in which both private owners and the government would have a stake.

Its aim is to increase safety and reliability, encourage the use of public transportation and decrease traffic congestion.

While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin said she believes the initiative lost steam over the last few years because the former administration did not consider it a priority.

“In the last year or so it began to get some heat again. I think it was related to the road works and our agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB),” she said.

“It’s a matter of priority for us and State Minister for Transport and Aviation Hope Strachan will be leading the charge on this. We are at the final stage of it. But I don’t think that we will have a final position by September.”

She continued, “We are hoping in the shortest period of time the logistics of a unified bus system will be completed.”

In 2006, a model for the unified bus system was completed by the Transport Policy and Planning Unit (TPPU) in the Road Traffic Department.

At the time, the preferred model, dubbed the Company System, called for a unified bus system and more pay for bus drivers or owners who have a greater number of buses providing services.

Officials said some of the advantages included safety for the pedestrians and bus riders, improved time and reliability of service, financial efficiency for operators and riders, comfort and state-of- the-art bus operations and better management of the bus drivers.

Under the proposed model, which would have been used in New Providence and the Family Islands, the government and stakeholders were going to be used to subsidise the system.

Officials said at the time that in order to get the system moving, a change of legislation and a business plan was required.

The business plan outlined where bus stops would be positioned with bus signs.

Minister Hanna-Martin said that eventually the capital’s transportation system must be totally revamped.

But she said that cannot be done until the multi-million dollar New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) is completed.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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