Port Moresby bus service needs overhaul

Editorial

THE authority responsible for seeing bus and public motor vehicles (PMVs) operators complete their normal routes on weekdays – from Gerehu to 4-Mile – especially in the mornings, are sleeping on their job.
The complete defiance by operators is happening in broad daylight and nothing is being done penalise them.
Occasionally, there are random road checks and that is when the offenders are caught but the penalties don’t seem to bother them.
The current system in the city allows bus and taxi owners and operators to dictate the terms – whether to complete the route, provide service on the route or pull out the service altogether when it suits them.
We sympathise with the owners and operators that the costcost associated with providing such services is high because of fuel prices and maintenance cost and the K1 bus fare they collect is not enough to cover that.
The owners’ and operators’ demand for an increase in bus fare will only be justifiable if they stick to their allocated routes and complete it, without overcharging passengers.
Of late, commuters living in Gerehu have complained that PMVs running route 9 do not complete the normal route from Gerehu to Boroko Market, then along Bisini Parade to Manu Auto Port, to 3-Mile then Foodland, to 4-Mile and back to Gerehu.
Route 7 buses are to travel from Gerehu to Gordon then to the airport, back to Gordon and to Gerehu.
Only a few follow that, the rest have made Waigani Market the central stop where they offload passengers.
We understand that buses are operated by private individuals but they have decided to provide that services and have been given a PMV licence by the Road Transport Authority to run certain routes.
With the current attitude, it is time for the city authorities to push through with the idea of 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.
We have said before and will keep hammering at it, that as the country’s capital, Port Moresby should have a modern transport system because it is vital to the 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.
Again we ask whether NCDC has the capacity to make this system work.
There was an invitation not so long ago for interested parties to make an offer to run the city bus service. Nothing more has been heard of it since then.
It is also vital that as we push for an up-to-date public transportation system, we should make certain that whatever system we adopt promises the safety of vulnerable people, including women and girls.
While we appreciate the services being provided under the current system and under available resources, it is time for the authorities to come down on the operators to comply or wind up the service they provide.

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