Change city’s transport system


IT is time Port Moresby has an affordable and reliable transport service.
The current system in the city allows bus/taxi owners and operators to dictate how they operate – whether they complete their routes, provide service along the designated routes or pull of their service if and whenever they wish to do so.
Several instances has seen operators pull their services off the road in protest for issues concerning their interest.
You do not have to drive far to see that these bus drivers have become kings of the road through their reckless actions on the road – not stopping at designated bus stops, sudden stop with no indication on, you find most buses lights are not working especially after 6pm, passengers almost tipping over in a broken seat and the list goes on.
We stand to be corrected, but Papua New Guinea is probably the only country in the world that is currently operating this system.
While we appreciate the services being provided under the current system, it is time for a review and to move forward.
Look at the ignorance by the PMV and taxi operators of not complying with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) health protocols.
Buses are overloaded with absolutely no social distancing, passengers not wearing mask, no hand sanitising and the list goes on.
Just total defiance and regrettably, there is no one around to police the Covid-19 protocols.
National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop has talked about looking at the current system, but nothing has emerged.
He once had hopes for the city to adopt the overseas public transport model where public transport is run by the Government.
Most countries have a public transport bus services which are generally based on regular operation of transit buses along a route calling at agreed bus stops according to a published public transport timetable.
Several years ago, the Brisbane City Council donated 10 used 40-seater buses to the NCD Commission.
These buses could carry 15 more passengers than what the current PMVs can carry. The donation indicated then, that the commission was leaning towards managing the entire public transport system in the city.
Unfortunately, nothing transpired from that on.
In fact, Port Moresby being the capital of PNG, should have a modernised transport system.
Transport infrastructure is one of the most important factors for a city and the country’s progress.
Yes, the modernised system will come at its own share of challenges, but it can be overcome by energy-efficient technologies and customer-focused approach.
One question stands out is whether the NCD Commission has the capacity to make this system work.
It would be enlightening if City Hall can give an update on what its plans are on this proposal.
If the commission is to partner current service providers to make it one system, then how is it going to be done?
That aside, some of the big challenges that will be faced are capacity increase, improved reliability in the system and delivering a more customer-focused approach.
While we push for a modernised transport system; it should also support the provision of safe, reliable and affordable public transport that enables women and children to move freely and safely around Port Moresby.
PNG does not have to look far to see how neighbouring countries run their transport service.
We have to start somewhere.
A city without public transport is a city that regularly grinds to a halt.
Public transport that is safe is crucial to the livability of any city.