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Public transport sector not on gov’t’s radar — study

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 28,2017 - Last updated at Feb 28,2017

A study released late Monday says there is ‘high’ redundancy in public transport routes (File photo)

AMMAN — Despite increased attention to the public transport sector, it is still not among the state’s priority issues, according to a policy study published on Monday.

Conducted in collaboration between Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Centre for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE), the study found that issues of security, defence, education, health and investment are considered more important than public transportation.

“We consider public transportation not so much as a technical issue but rather as an important political and social issue,” said Richard Probst, FES deputy resident director in Jordan and regional coordinator of the Climate and Energy Project.

“It is about improving the living conditions of citizens and about the social, economic and environmental benefits for the Jordanian society,” Probst said.

The “Future of Public Transport in Jordan” study examined the draft public transportation law, he said at the event to launch the report, adding that addressing regulations governing the sector is the first step to boosting the sector’s performance.

The study cited a number of challenges on the institutional level, including weak coordination between the different regulatory and administrative bodies, and the increasing traffic congestions.

Furthermore, the study cited “high” redundancy in public transport routes and the absence of substantial subsidies as additional challenges.

The report focused on understanding the different processes and methods of operation of the various stakeholders involved in providing public transport services, including operators, legislators and regulators, said Mohammad Asad, CSBE founder and director.

The findings were presented at the event, attended by Transport Minister Hussein Al Souob and Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji.

Based on in-depth interviews with current and former officials, as well as members of the Lower House and the Senate, the study is a follow-up on an earlier study conducted in 2015 by the CSBE, in cooperation with the Taqaddam Platform and Maan Nasel, the campaign for better public transport.

The new report delves into current policies, practices and practical solutions, including a recommendation to subsidise this strategic sector as a starting point to revisiting the current institutional regulatory framework.

 

The study also suggested addressing challenges posed by the private ownership of means of transport, merging redundant routes, raising the insurance limit for public transport companies, easing licensing procedures, and introducing smart payment methods and tracking technologies.

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