City transport system needs change


POLICE on Friday pulled PMV buses off the road in Port Moresby for breaching public health safety rules relating to Covid-19.
In order for the buses to operate, owners and operators were required to implement the Niupela Pasin which included ensuring there was a 1.5m physical or safe distancing, and wearing of masks by passengers and PMV operators.
Hand sanitisers were supposed to be provided on the buses as well, and bus fare was to increase to K1.50 to make up for their losses of ferrying only 15 passengers.
All that fell on deaf ears.
And whether we like it or not, face masks will be an essential part of the public health fight against coronavirus, so we might as well get used to them.
National Capital District (NCD) Met Supt Perou N’dranou said bus drivers and checkers were ignoring the Covid-19 protocols such as the maximum of 15 passengers.
We agree with N’dranou that enough time has been given by authorities for operators to comply.
We really do hope a more severe penalty is dished out if these buses are caught again.
The health of all those who use the public transport and their families are at stake, especially the many who are ignoring the measures announced.
This is probably a good time for the NCD Commission to relook at its plans on controlling the public transport; buses and taxis.
City residents deserve to use an affordable and reliable transport service.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop has been advocating for a model where public transport is run by the Government. In modern municipalities, city buses run to a strict schedule and follow specific routes with designated stops along the way.
The service sticks to a timetable and the buses are never late and are clean and safe.
The current system in the city allows bus and taxi owners and operators to dictate how they operate.
Bus and taxi operators dictate whether they complete their routes, provide services along the designated routes, or withdraw their services if and when they want to.
We have said before and will keep hammering at it, as the country’s capital, Port Moresby should have a modern transport system, because a good transport system is vital to a city’s development.
And although a city-run bus system will come with its own set of challenges in terms of capacity, reliability and delivery, the challenges can be overcome by technology and customer-focused approach.
Transport is an important part of the economy.
While we appreciate the services being provided under the current systems, it is time for authorities to come down on the operators to comply or wind up the service they provide. The perfect test for all public transport providers is during the pandemic.
The current city transport system does not have proper mechanism to check, therefore those tasked to police these measures should do so without fear or favour.
The opposition to complying with orders relating to wearing of masks, practicing social distancing and using of hand sanitisers especially on PMV busses shows our chronic inability to come together to agree on nearly anything, and our unwillingness to make even small sacrifices for the greater good.
The challenge is now on N’dranou and his team to ensure this exercise of enforcing measures continues until there are changes.