Revamp of taxi service eyed
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TAXIS currently only play a minor role in public transportation in the Sultanate, however the Land Transport White Paper suggests a future that is jammed with taxis.
According to the white paper, taxis in Brunei provide a non-metered service that satisfies the relatively low demand for premium door-to-door transport services, but fall short in terms of overall service information, customer protection and integration with the wider public transport network.
The white paper added that the current number of only 48 licensed taxis, which is significantly below international comparators, will be increased to up to a fleet of 400 vehicles allocated based on population by district and phased over a number of years, with a further fleet expansion may be viable depending on the population growth by 2035.
Under Policy PT3 (Taxis and Demand Responsive Transport), of the white paper’s second strategic theme titled “Promoting Public Transport”, it mentions that taxis serve as a key complementary mode to the mainstream public transport networks for tourists, visitors to Brunei, rural communities and those without access to a car.
The white paper plans to provide taxis and other forms of Demand Responsive Transport with a high level of availability, accessibility, affordability and customer service.
“This is a major gap which urgently needs to be addressed on grounds of enhancing personal mobility and access to services, promoting social inclusion, improving customer experience, safety and security and improving quality of life for visitors and residents,” according to the white paper.
To meet these objectives, the Land Transport Master Plan had proposed action in several areas including significantly increasing taxi supply and availability with a new taxi franchise system, and adopting a consistent and fair charging system that would include the introduction of taxi meters.
It also mentions that they would need to raise quality of vehicles and equipment, including taxi lights, CCTVs, radios, air conditioning and emissions standards, combined with strong enforcement of vehicle age limits.
The white paper also proposed to improve the quality and safety of service offered by drivers, by means of training, and coordinate the central booking, dispatching and fleet management while also facilitating the growing use of smart application via mobile devices.
“Successful delivery of these proposals will also require regulatory and enforcement action against unlicensed, uninsured and illegal taxis and coordination of other private vehicles, such as hotel chauffeur services, which currently provide demand-responsive door-to-door services,” according to the white paper.
In line, with the Brunei’s Vision 2035 and the Ministry of Communication by 2017, the “white paper” provides the basis for the development of specific national transport policies and had outlined four core strategies; Reducing Car Dependency, Keeping Traffic Moving, Achieving Sustainable Society and Strengthening Governance.
The white paper is an insightful document that covers wide and extensive aspects land transport policies, strategies and iniatives for achieving set vision as well as prescribing steps towards improving the land transport in Brunei holistically using technology as an enabler.
The Brunei Times