WORD ON THE STREET: IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Do you think public transport in Oman needs a revamp? Do you think introduction of new buses by ONTC (Mwasalat service) is going to make a difference?

Hilal al Nabhani, Government employee

Yes. Introduction of new bus service is a very good idea. I would like to try the service while travelling to work. I think gradually Omanis will use it. However, we should not have bus-only lanes, because it would just lead to more traffic in other lanes. The government should also make bus stations air-conditioned.

Majid al Slmani, Private sector employee

Revamping of public transportation is the need of the hour. Introducing a new bus service is a great idea as it can help in reducing traffic congestion. It will mainly be useful for those who don’t have cars as commuting will be cheaper for them. I don’t think I would like to use it though because I have a car. I think we should also have more bus stations because of the extreme weather in Oman.

Saad Ashfaque, Accountant

I use buses plying on the Ruwi-Wadi Kabir route from time to time. The rates are reasonable and the frequency is good. If the authorities are thinking of revamping the bus service, then it should first build covered bus stations. It should also introduce an e-ticket system like in Dubai. Introduction of new buses is a good idea, provided the comfort of passengers is taken care of.

Ijaz Masood Rana, Senior accountant

ONTC has good inter-city bus service. However, the service inside the city needs to be improved. I think, buses will only be used by people who don’t own vehicles. But if they improve the standard of the service, maybe more people will use it to commute. Buses can be great to reduce traffic congestion.

Udhaya Kumar, Accountant

Yes, the public transportation system needs to be revamped. Introduction of new buses will be beneficial for those who want to move around the city but do not have a vehicle. Having specific lanes for buses is also a great idea to help tackle traffic congestion.

Do you think we need buses with better facilities and comfort?

Abhirup Roy, Private sector employee

I have travelled in some of the buses to travel in and around the city. I find them quite comfortable. The staff is friendly and helpful. However, there is always scope for improvement.

Marwan Sameer, Student

Yes, bus service in the city needs to be upgraded so that more people are encouraged to use it. The use of public transport by masses can help reduce accidents and ease traffic on the roads.

Mazen Msellem, Student

Yes, buses currently plying in the city are not comfortable at all as they do not have enough leg space. It is very difficult for the elderly and sick people to travel in such buses.

Khalil Ahmed, Private sector employee

Though buses in Oman are safe, I feel there are some aspects that need to be looked into. Authorities should ensure that buses have proper air conditioning system as it is a must during summer.

Meer Riyadh, Private sector employee

Buses in Oman are not that comfortable. The frequency too is not that good. I feel, authorities should particularly focus on keeping the buses clean.

Is lack of transport infrastructure in the country hurting its tourism?

Manish Dubey, Private sector employee

Oman is not an easy place to travel around if you don’t have your own vehicle. The public transport in the country needs a lot of improvement.

Dr Uma Dubey, Historian

Yes. Taxis are the only option for tourists visiting Oman. Lack of metered taxis add to the woes. Tourists often complain of high fares. This can affect tourism adversely.

Renitta Soans, IT professional

An efficient countrywide transport system would help citizens and expatriates in Oman, but I feel it would hurt tourism. Tourists are fascinated with areas that are less explored. I don’t think tourists would mind travelling even in a pick-up vehicle to reach such places.

Nasser Khamis al Shehhi, Hotel employee

Yes, an efficient public transport system can give a tremendous boost to the tourism sector. It would provide tourists the opportunity to see different places within their budget. Catering to the budget-conscious tourist is the way forward.

Karim Mahjoub, Marketing executive

Today, holidaymakers prefer booking their trips well in advance. Lack of buses or trains in a country can be discouraging for many travellers. I think Oman definitely needs to focus on improving its transport infrastructure as it has great tourism potential.

Do you think we need to change our car culture in order to make public transport a success?

Yaqoub bin Yousuf al Balushi, Government employee

No, I don’t think giving up car culture will make much difference. To make public transport a success, government needs to cater to the requirement of masses. It should ensure that the frequency of the service is good, and there are enough vehicles on roads. Security is also an important concern.

Babita Senapati, Homemaker

Yes, public transportation will be a success if people give up car culture. But that’s not enough. There are other parameters that need to be taken care of such as frequency and comfort. There should be separate seating areas for men and women in buses. I am sure it will be a success, if these aspects are improved.

Babita Padhi, Homemaker

Giving up car culture is difficult. But, if I get the same comfort and benefit I do not mind switching to public transport. There are other benefits, it will not only help ease traffic congestion but also reduce accidents.

Smita Rani Pradhan, Homemaker

I am in favour of using public transportation instead of cars. If everyone decides to give up car culture then it will be a success. Public transportation, be it train or bus has many advantages. It can bring down pollution and reduce traffic on the roads. It will also be a great relief for people, if oil prices rise in future.

Rachana Mohanta, Homemaker

Public transportation can be a success if people accept it wholeheartedly. Authorities however, need to ensure it meets the requirements of people and should conduct a feasibility study and research. I don’t think car culture can be given up completely though.

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY