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1/ Vigorous Steps to Develop Public Transport in the Sultanate

Muscat, May 28 (ONA) ---- Eng. Salim bin Mohammed al-Nuaimi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for Transport, Board Chairman of Mwasalat emphasized that the strategic plan of the company for the twenty years to come has now been completed and will be disclosed in theforthcoming October, stressing that the strategy is the main outline of the system of public transport in the Sultanate.

He said in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), the master plan includes three main objectives. First, it will determine the basic requirements to provide public bus services in detail beginning from the Governorate of Muscat, and then in the rest of the cities and regions of the Sultanate andthe routes that could be operated outside the Sultanate. He added that it will also include details of the integrated financial plan for its implementation, as well as determining the future requirements in the modernization of the necessary infrastructure.

He added that the strategy includes the developmental aspects of trying to find an integrated public system to serve all segments of the society, to reach the concept of public transport, to achieve the highest growth rates in accordance with the quality standards with respect to mass transport in order to reduce traffic congestion, enhance the economic and social benefits by the implementation of the public transport system and to revitalize the commercial and tourism activity and the associated services.

He emphasized that "Mwasalat " seeks to develop the public transport in the Sultanate and implement its strategy according to what was announced at the beginning of this year. He added that the strategy is being implemented through the purchase of new buses to support this sector and there are plans that will be announced in the secondhalf of this year with respect to the Governorate of Muscat and the rest of the governorates.

He explained that nearly 1.1 million passengers used our buses until the end of March this year and since the start of operations of the company in its new identity inside the Governorate of Muscat on November 22nd, 2015 at a rate of 9 thousand passengers a day.

With regard to the investment volume that will be put by the company to support the routes, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for Transport explained that there are negotiations with some banks and investment companies in coordination with the Ministry of Finance to implement programs and plans of the company, which would reduce government support in the current period.

About the routes to be operated during the coming period, he noted that the company will launch in July Al Khoudh Route, which connects the Sultan Qaboos University and Burj Al Sahwa Roundabout, as the preliminary studies suggest that it will be a successful route that would serve a large segment of citizens and residents in the Sultanate. He explained that Ruwi-Al A'mirat Route, recently launched, is also a successful routeand there are demand to increase the length of this route to include Al Nahdha Neighborhood, as the average number of passengers on the route is 850 passengers a day. He addedthat the same applies to the new Ruwi-Muttrah, Al Alam Palace Route, which was inaugurated on April 24thand more than 500 passengers use the route a day.

He added that the company will increase the number of buses to Sohar and Nizwa during the holy month of Ramadan in order to provide continuous service for those wishing to travel to these destinations and spend more time with their families during the holy month. He affirmed that there will be eight buses a day to- from Sohar and 5 buses to-from Nizwa, and the company will increase the number of buses to Salalah during Khareef season.

About the progress in ADuqm, he said that the company is studying with specialists from the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD) the transportation requirements within the region. A new Muscat-Duqm Route (one bus a day) will start operating in the third quarter of this year, and the number of buses could be increased after the evaluation of the first phase.

He explained that the number of buses that are used on the routes in the Governorate of Muscat is 28 and it will go up to 36 after the launch of Al Khoudh Route. The company also operates 28 buses on the inter-city routes. He added that the company has a fleet of approximately 400 buses for schools and Sultan Qaboos University contracts.

In response to a question about linking the governorates, he explained: Currently the governorates are linked to the Governorate of Muscat and there is a plan to increase the number of trips from Muscat to that governorate, stressing that there is a study for inter-city services to link the governorates and major cities.

--- Ends/MN/FS

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Publication:Oman News Agency
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:May 28, 2016
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