PNG OFFICIAL SEEKS PUBLIC TRANSPORT IMPROVEMENTS

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By Nikints Tiptip

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 1) -- The public transport system in Lae City is inefficient, prompting provincial authorities to look for solutions to the problem.

Provincial Transport and Administration chairman Simon Senart said a meeting would be scheduled for the first time to meet with all PMV operators in the city.

Senart and his delegation had just returned from a fact-finding tour in Japan, Singapore and Cairns (Australia) to see how public transport systems are being operated.

He said a report is now ready for presentation to the provincial cabinet, which will be asked to consider allowing the provincial government to manage the city public transport system.

Senart said Governor Luther Wenge had initially committed his office to that cause last year while the transport board was trying to address the transport issues.

"PMV buses are not completing their routes; they are cutting trip and even accepting 30 toea (US$0.09) as bus fare because there is no proper systems in place," Senart said.

"We do not blame the operators, but we need to sit down together and look at how best to address the problem," said Senart.

The main problem includes the current practice of buses of not completing their routes especially on working days in which passengers are dropped off even before reaching their destinations.

Most buses are old and dilapidated, posing great threat to the safety of passengers, Senart said.

He said his department was looking at creating new bus stops for certain routes, including rural bus stops so that commuters would know where to drop off.

Senart said that bus services in Japan, Singapore and Cairns are run by the government, "that’s why they are efficient."

Senart said in the near future, routes would be restricted to specific zones and no PMV would allowed to ply outside of their designated routes.

He said routes such as Bumayong would stop at Kamkumu so that another PMV takes on from there and buses would stick to their zones and transport officers would be there to enforce this.

He said the new bus fare for city routes was increased to 60 toea but this will not start until operators and the transport board meet and agree on how to provide an effective transport service to the pubic.

Senart also urged PMV operators to form an association through which they could ventilate their grievances against the public or the government.

July 2, 2004

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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