Vinod Nair –
Muscat, Feb 20 –
Burj al Sahwa will be developed into a major hub for public transport in the Sultanate, it was learned on Wednesday.
At the Ministry of Transport and Communications press conference, it was revealed the plan also includes a dedicated parking slot for public transport buses and private vehicles at the new site. Mwasalat has already floated tenders for the remodelling of Burj al Sahwa bus station.
The project has been prepared in coordination with Muscat Municipality, Ministry of Housing and Oman Airports.
The facility seeks to encourage air travellers to park vehicles (park and hop-on/hop-off) at Burj al Sahwa and take a bus to the airport.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said the mobile app-based on-demand taxi companies — Uber and Careem — are “welcome to operate in Muscat, but they should follow the stipulated rules”.
He said the taxi driver and the customer will be allowed to have an agreement on the ride fare, but there is no going back on meter installation in taxis.
Dr Al Futaisi said the government is studying the possibility of collecting fees (toll) on some roads so that funds can be used for infrastructure development.
If implemented, the toll will be collected only on roads that have alternatives so motorists have an option to pay the toll or not.
This year, Mwasalat will expand its operations to other cities, while new buses and technologies such as smart tickets will be pressed into service this year.
It was also revealed that six million people used public transport buses spread over 34 routes.