MinComm to set up office to oversee public transport sector expansion
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Communications (MinComm) is looking to establish a Land Transport Authority (LTA) that will oversee the regulation and expansion of the public transport sector.
In an exclusive interview, Communications Minister Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat said MinComm has a $10 million allocation to transform the public transport sector over the next three years, upgrading bus routes and interchanges and introducing metered taxis.
“This is a shift in policy, moving away from the current system where the sector is decided by market forces – supply and demand – where they see opportunity they operate. But that doesn’t help grow the transport sector,” he told The Brunei Times. “What we need to do now is – if I can call it government intervention – is regulate the system in the hope that it can improve services, making it more reliable to use by the public and over time, the sector will grow.”
YB Dato Hj Mustappa said the transport sector can be an important economic driver, with MinComm contributing $600 million, or three per cent of GDP, to the domestic economy in the past year.
“The opportunity is huge. If you organise the public transport system, it can be another economic fundamental in the country.”
The proposed body aims to improve reliability of public transport by regulating bus routes and schedules to establish better connectivity, said the minister, and then leasing those routes out to bus operators.
MinComm also plans to introduce a “multi-tier taxi licence” that will see the launch of metered taxis, as well as an online booking system and fare structure that is controlled and competitive.
“We need a reliable transport system, otherwise the sector will never grow,” he said.
YB Dato Hj Mustappa added that the LTA would take some time to set up, and that the ministry is currently in talks with the Attorney General’s Chambers to enact the required legislation.
The Brunei Times