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GAM working to ‘improve communication with public’ on bus project

By Camille Dupire - Jan 18,2018 - Last updated at Jan 18,2018

A computer-generated image of the BRT project in Amman. Muncipal officials say a plan for public awareness on the project will be implemented over the coming two years (Photo courtesy of www.Ammanbrt.jo)

AMMAN — A senior official at the Greater Amman Municipality on Thursday acknowledged a "lack of public awareness" in regards to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), vowing to implement an effective communication campaign on the project over the next two years. 

Abdul Rahim Wreikat, director of the transport department at GAM, said people should have been better informed on not only benefits which will be brought by the BRT, but also the ongoing construction work which is disturbing citizens' daily lives, and stressed GAM's commitment to "managing expectations starting from now". 

"We realise that people are greatly unaware of what is going on, and that they have somehow lost hope in the project after the suspension that happened in 2012," he said at a session concluding the three-day visit of a team of French experts from the Paris municipality.

“However," he continued, "we now want the Ammanis to be offered a glimpse of how mobility can change in their city, and we want to show them that the BRT will assist them in moving towards a culture of public transportation rather than each owning a private car, which causes traffic, pollution, and environmental damages."

"In the last 10 years, the city of Amman has experienced major urban sprawl and its population has doubled," said French Ambassador to Jordan David Bertolotti at the event, warning that "with such changes, the city can become a constraint for its citizens, especially in the difficulty to move around".

Stressing the need to make people “love their city again”, the ambassador highlighted the importance of the future of the BRT in developing the transportation network and improving citizens’ daily lives.

This focus on Jordanians’ living conditions served as a guideline of the three-day exchange, which was the sixth in a series of bilateral interaction conducted between the two municipalities since 2003, and was conducted under the theme “Accessibility for All” (An in-depth story on the issue is scheduled for next week). 

“When we speak of accessibility, we cover a very wide spectrum of aspects: social and financial accessibility, physical accessibility, accessibility in relation to the transportation network, environmental accessibility, etc,” noted Arnaud Le Gall, representative of the diplomatic relations with MENA department at Paris municipality, who praised the long lasting partnership between the two municipalities.

Nemeh Al Qatanami, an engineering director at GAM, further stressed the efforts exerted by the municipality in “preserving the greenery within the city” and making the future bus “enjoyable to all”.

The woman, who is also the mayor’s adviser for engineering affairs, cited the attention attached to safeguarding the Sweileh park, which will be one of the main bus terminals, and the importance of sidewalks for pedestrians who will access the BRT.

 

The final session, which took place at Al Hussein Cultural Centre, saw the participation of officials from the two municipalities, members of the Agence Francaise de Development, which is funding the project, representatives of civil society organisations and NGOs.

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