Light rail feasibility study may start in 2020

MUSCAT, JUNE 23 – Studies to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a light rail network or such other rail-based urban transportation system for Muscat are likely to commence next year, according to Mwasalat, the national transport company of the Sultanate. Mwasalat, a subsidiary of Asyad Group, the transportation and logistics flagship of Oman, has been assigned responsibility for overseeing the development of public transportation systems, a mandate that also encompasses light rail, tramway and other public transit systems that may be contemplated by the Sultanate’s authorities.
“The master-plan for an integrated mass transport system within Muscat, unveiled by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, prescribes studies (to examine the feasibility of) any light rail or tramway project. These studies may start from next year, and their implementation will be announced in due course,” said Ahmed al Balushi, CEO, Mwasalat. The revelation came during a ‘majlis’ hosted by Asyad Group last week with the participation of senior figures representing all of the wholly or partly government-owned ports, free zones, cargo terminals, shipping and transportation firms, and logistics companies, among other entities, that make up Asyad Group.
Last November, the ministry unveiled a transportation strategy covering the 2017-2025 timeframe that envisions a multimodal public transportation system integrating an intercity national bus network with a potential Light Rail and sea taxis, among other public transit options.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, announced at the time that the proposed introduction of modern urban transport systems are in line with the government’s long-term vision to take Oman’s transportation sector to the next level.
At last week’s ‘majlis’, Asyad Group showcased Mwasalat’s rapid growth of Mwasalat as an example of the potential of public transportation services in the Sultanate. Passenger numbers transported by the company surged to an average of 25,000 riders per day in the first half of 2019, up from around 15,000 per day in 2018. Mwasalat’s one-day record now stands at 43,000 passengers, according to the holding company.
Passenger numbers ferried by Mwasalat are projected to rise by 50 per cent year-on-year, said Abdulrehman al Hatmi, Group CEO, Asyad Group.