SALALAH, May 15 - The much-awaited demand of a proper public transport system beyond small taxis in Salalah city is likely to be fulfilled, as introduction of city bus service is under active consideration of Mwasalat management.
Asim Ali al Marhoon, Manager of Mwasalat in Salalah, dropped a hint regarding this proposed service during the launch of Mwasalat’s bus service on two new routes in Dhofar Governorate: Salalah-Mazyouna and Salalah-Marmul.
The proposed city bus service, which is likely to be launched by the end of this year, would operate initially on four routes. It would cover most of the educational institutions, hospitals, hypermarkets, and industrial areas and airport.
“Initially it would operate from Sahalnoot to Raysut and to the airport. Modalities are being worked out on routes, stops etc,” said Al Marhoon and added “efforts would be there to maintain a frequency of 20 minutes in the first phase.”
Tour operators, hoteliers, local residents and tourists responded enthusiastically over the news and called it a welcome move which would cater to the needs of everyone living in the city.
Vishvanath Ranasinghe, General Manager of Al Fawaz Tours, welcomed the move and said, “Transport system is a super structure of any important destination. It not only caters to the needs of the residents and visitors, it gives a boost to the city in terms of expansion and development.”
“Since I am associated with tourism business, I see lot of convenience to the tourists in visiting banks, money exchanges and restaurants after its introduction. There are many charter tourists who do not have transport included in their package, they would certainly be very happy over the new arrangement,” said Ranasinghe.
Mehdi Othmani, GM of Hilton Salalah Resort, said, “Salalah is no more the small city. Today it has become a world destination with its unique weather, international hotel chains with amazing beaches, a state of the art airport, exclusive road infrastructure, shopping mall with the most renewed brands… and my take is that there is no better time than this to start a public transport service in Dhofar.”
Recounting his interactions with tourists, a local guide said most of the tourists seek affordable, convenient and smart public transport system in the city. “This demand is raised time and again by the tourists through their tour operators, personal blogs and other forums,” he said, welcoming the move.
General Manager of Salalah Marriott Resort, called it a good move from tourism and hospitality points of view. “Good public transport is one of the parameters to judge a city. This gives visitors liberty to move around… Good for us hoteliers to tell our guests that the city has one of the best public transport systems.”
He called for inclusion of Taqah and Mirbat on Mwasalat services due to many tourism sites located in both the places and a large number of tourists staying there in different hotels.