Oman mulls privatization of public transport services

Muscat: The public transport company, Mwasalat, has been now restructured as a holding entity under which the Naql electronic platform will operate. The buses and ferries will operate under this holding company, which will be responsible for floating tenders for projects and investments.

“Mwasalat will separate day-to-day public transport operations from strategic management and integrate the road and maritime public transport sectors under one umbrella while ensuring ongoing operational efficiencies and continually improving performance levels,” the company CEO, Ahmed al Balushi, said.

Talking to the Observer, he said, “The operators for future public transport services in cities like Sur and Nizwa will be selected through tender instead of just granting the permit to Mwasalat.”

The new model will also enable the private sector to compete with Oman’s National Transport Company (Mwasalat) and National Ferries Company to provide services through operational contracts. It will also implement projects that support the integration and organization of the transport sector as a whole.

The major investment projects to be undertaken by Mwasalat will undertake include the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of the Naql in partnership with the private sector; development of public transport stations such as Burj Al Sahwa Public Transport Hub; the design and implementation of stations for truck weights along main roads; design, implementation and operation of toll roads with private investment such as Salalah-Thamrait route; the design and implementation of a smartphone application for taxi meters; and tenders for the operation of new ferry lines.

Mwasalat will also be working early next year to establish performance level frameworks with operators prior to the tendering of management agreements.