MinComm studying introduction of bus interchanges, bus lanes
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Communications is studying the possibility of introducing bus interchanges and building bus lanes to increase public ridership in the country.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat said his ministry is looking into ways to improve the bus transport system including the introduction of bus interchanges.
He said bus terminals may no longer be relevant because the aim of the ministry is for bus services to be continuous, with a frequency of every 15 minutes.
The interchanges, he said, will be located where two or more bus routes would meet.
“The next stage would be the implementation of an intelligent transportation system where we will be using technology to trace the whereabouts of the buses,” he said.
With this innovation, passengers are informed of when the next bus is slated to arrive as well as its location in real time.
He said the ministry aims to increase the number of bus ridership in the country to five million.
He added that the latest statistics showed that the current bus ridership in the country is 2.9 million.
YB Dato Hj Mustappa said his ministry is also in talks with the Ministry of Development to build bus lanes.
The minister said the aim of the ministry is to increase connectivity to make public transport more accessible and more reliable.
YB Dato Hj Mustappa said there is a possibility of certain locations that will use a park and ride system, citing the RIPAS Hospital’s shuttle bus services at Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah as an example.
He went on to say that the ministry also aims to improve taxi services in Brunei, adding that they have conducted dialogues with taxi operators to convince them to use a metered taxi system.
“One of the issues raised by taxi operators is that they cannot operate a taxi with very minimal fares which the meter taxi will cause,” he said.
Due to this, the ministry plans to introduce a multi-tier taxi licence system that will enable taxi operators to not only operate taxis but also limousine taxis and an on call taxi service.
The minister said the multi-tier taxi licence system will enable taxi operators to increase their market demand.
He added that taxi operators in the sultanate will also make use of online booking services similar to Uber.
YB Dato Hj Mustappa said the ministry has been entrusted with an allocation of $10 million to reform and improve the transport system in the country.
“We (MinComm) are given three years to realise this and hopefully by that time the country’s transportation system will be able to generate its own revenue and therefore be sustainable,” he added.
The Brunei Times