Government is mulling the relocation of the Stabroek Minibus Park, which will see the creation of terminals at strategic locations. This was disclosed yesterday by Rabindranauth Chanderpaul, Chief Transport Planning Officer of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications at the opening of the Ministry’s Engineers’ Conference at the National Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
Utilising examples, to demonstrate the workings of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System, passengers traversing to Georgetown using the East Bank Demerara Highway will disembark at the Mandela Avenue terminal, while minibuses using the Railway Embankment to Georgetown will stop at UG Road terminal.
At the terminals, “feed buses” would be available to continue the passengers’ commute.
Despite, the number of vehicles involved in the passengers commute it would not be expensive.
As a matter of fact, it may remain the same fare.
Chanderpaul explained that a fare integration system may be employed to ensure that daily commute is inexpensive. For instance, a person who lives at 19th Street, Diamond, on the East Bank of Demerara, may join a hire car which takes him/her to the East Bank Public Road and there he/she continues travelling in a route 42 bus heading to Georgetown. Using the BRT system the passenger will disembark at the Mandela bus terminal where he/she joins a “feed bus”. The fare may remain as it is when the passenger reaches his/her location because of the fare integration.
In addition, the number of minibuses involved in the journey would not necessarily mean more time consumption, it may be the opposite. Chanderpaul pointed to the fact that certain roads and lanes would be designated “bus only”. To facilitate this there will be strategic changes: for example route 40 minibuses would utilise Croal Street instead of Regent Street, which is one of the busiest streets in Georgetown.
The implementation of the system would require the construction of new roadways and expansion of existing ones.
To accommodate the UG Road terminal, the embankment that was once inhabited with squatters would be transformed into a road for buses only.
According to him, when and if this system is implemented, it will alter the transportation network for all, since the constant stopping of minibuses would not affect the flow of traffic.
This new system would integrate existing minibuses that are serving the public. Chanderpaul noted that a licence system would be available to minibus operators if they are interested. He noted that the importation of large buses would be welcomed.
In the interim the concept is being discussed, “I think we have to bring in large buses to run on the main routes while developing the alternate terminal,” Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn posited.
The Engineers’ Conference is an annual feature of the Ministry that allows a common forum for engineers to discuss techniques and new technologies in the area of road and bridges construction, and sea defence among others. The two-day conference will conclude today.
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