Mauritius to revolutionise bus transport with smart lines offering impeccable services
To move to the next phase of development, it is important for Mauritius to embark on a new bus transport system that embodies modern services and sophisticated infrastructure, noted Minister Nandcoomar Bodha, who is aiming to upgrade the island’s bus transport system to meet the modern commuter’s needs, with the creation of smart lines offering impeccable services.(flickr.com)
“We will bring about a revolution in the bus transport system and pave the way for modern and sophisticated services and infrastructure, comprising, among others, new buses, comfortable bus shelters displaying electronic timetables, as well as state-of-the-art bus terminals. We will also strive for better working conditions for the employees, and a bus transport sector that generates revenue,” said Mauritius’ Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Nandcoomar Bodha
Nandcoomar Bodha detailed the government’s ambitions for the bus transport sector at the inauguration of a polyvalent complex for the Bus Industry Employees Welfare Fund and a scholarship award ceremony in Helvetia in Moka.
Bodha said that the Victoria Bus Terminal and the Immigration Squares in Port Louis will be the first to get a face-lift, with an increase in public spaces and modern facilities, and will be followed by Cardinal Margéot Square in Rose Hill and Jan Palach Bus Terminal in Curepipe.
Additionally, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD or the French Development Agency) will be funding a study on the economics of public transport in Mauritius with a view to undertaking an effective analysis of the way government funds are benefiting the transport sector and passengers.
According to Bodha, the government currently injects some Rs 10 billion in the bus industry yearly, but the fleet renewal rate stands at a mere 4%.
The break-down of government disbursement for the sector is: Rs 800,000 million to finance free transport schemes for students, Rs 400,000 million to fund free transport schemes for pensioners and Rs 600,000 million to pay for the refund of bus fares for public officers and the implementation of other schemes such as the bus recovery fund, the diesel fund and subsidy to purchase new semi-low floor buses.
Highlighting the vital role that bus employees play in ensuring the safe passage of some one million customers to their destinations, the minister noted that there is a need to provide adequate and comfortable work spaces for bus drivers and fare collectors.
The minister also called out to private bus operators to join inefforts for upgrading the bus transport system to serve the modern commuters’ needs and embark on the creation of smart lines offering impeccable services.
He noted that the National Transport Corporation is buying 500 new buses over the next five years, at the rate of 100 buses per year. The setting-up of a bus assembly plant in Mauritius, as from next year onwards, is being envisaged as part of the tender exercise.
“The plant would serve not only the Mauritian market but also supply Africa’s demand for buses,” said Bodha. He also mentioned the revised Road Decongestion Programme that is envisaged to be implemented over a period of five years as from financial year 2016/2017 at a total estimated cost of Rs15.5 billion, to provide for a high quality modern public infrastructure and transportation system.