Bandar Seri Begawan
Monday and a female foreign worker can be seen hurrying her way to a
bus stop to be able to go to work on time. But today like any other day,
the bus is not cooperating, it was nowhere in sight. With no list of
schedules to tell her what time the next bus will arrive, the only thing
she can do is to wait.
This scenario is repeated in almost all bus stops throughout the
sultanate. It’s an issue that has caught the attention of government
officials who vowed to put an end to the problem.
Director Dr Hj Supry Hj Ladi of the Land Transport Department’s said
that recent studies showed about 70 per cent of bus riders are
In 2015, the LTD revealed a total ridership of 2.48 million. These
figures are an increase of about 0.8 per cent from ridership in 2014.
The LTD said they are setting a target for a one per cent increase in
ridership by the end of the year. “We know this target may seem low,
but we believe it is realistic in view of the fact that some existing
buses still do not adhere to the stated schedules, and do not provide
consistent service especially outside of the Bandar Seri Begawan area,
as well as there being no significant increase in the number of buses
and routes introduced,” Dr Hj Supry said.
The LTD has acknowledged the need for an overhaul, and is hoping to
launch the public bus system next year which will focus on connectivity
Dr Hj Supry said the new main bus route network being designed
targets around 70 per cent connectivity to major destinations in the
Brunei-Muara district, compared to the existing bus route network. There
will also be improved connectivity in the Kuala Belait/Seria area, with
the introduction of five routes compared to the existing solo route. In
the Temburong and Tutong districts, there will be two new routes
introduced and an increase in inter-district bus services to five from
the existing two.
The LTD is also going to introduce feeder bus services from major
residential areas throughout the country that will further increase
accessibility for citizens to join the main bus route network to their
Dr Hj Supry said the new public bus service network is part of the
Ministry of Communications’ Brunei Public Transport Systems
Transformation Project, aimed at having a regulated, connected and
reliable public transport system.
“We must understand that the definition of connectivity here is the
network of bus services that connects important places, public
amenities, government departments, places of work, commercial areas
including its inter-connectivity to air, sea and cross border transport,
as well as public accessibility to bus route networks,” he said.
To ensure reliability of the new public bus system, there are plans
to introduce dedicated lanes ideal for buses to ensure they do not get
stuck in traffic, especially during peak hours, said Dr Hj Supry, adding
plans are in place to have a Bus Intelligent Transport Systems, and
integrated fare ticketing system installed in all buses.
In a recent interview, Communications Minister Yang Berhormat Dato
Seri Setia Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat said their objective for the
transportation transformation is to create reliability which is
important within any transportation system. “We want the buses to arrive
at a certain distance within a certain time. But there are challenges
and one of these is that our infrastructure was not initially designed
for that. However, we have to start somewhere and improve upon the
infrastructure over time.”
Dr Hj Supry said with these pull-factors and a well-connected route
network and reliable service, the department believes that ridership
will increase over time.
They are also targeting for those who own cars to consider using buses as an alternative mode of transport with value for money.
Thirty-six year-old Aminah Lamat took the public bus system here once
in her life when she was 16. Now that she older, she is keen to ride
the bus to and from work if she sees an improvement in the reliability
of the vehicles being on time. Amina drives to work daily from Jalan
Muara to Jerudong.
“Currently, there is not much public awareness of this new bus system
which will be introduced next year. There should also be a website on
bus schedules since everyone is into technology and can easily access
the schedules from their phones,” she said.
Two residents, who asked to be named Mike and Jimmy, both in their
late 20s, welcomed the move of the government to overhaul the public bus
transportation system.They said this will be a positive development
especially for tourists and is hoped the introduction of more buses and
routes will bring about visitors to the country.
“I was cycling past one of the hotels in the capital the other day
and saw a tourist waiting for the bus at the bus stop just outside the
hotel. It seemed like that tourist had no idea if the bus would ever
come as there no signs for bus schedules,” Jimmy said.
Mike said he hopes the improved bus services will serve tourists
efficiently and get them around to destinations promptly. “I also heard
that there will be free shuttle services from the airport to all
landmark destinations. That will be great for our tourists if it comes
to fruition,” he said.
YB Dato Hj Mustappa said the transformation of the transport sector
will also create more opportunities for Bruneians, as they are looking
to hire more bus drivers, all who are required to be Bruneians.
“At the same time, we are encouraging foreign investments to come in
and create more opportunities for Bruneians, both for the bus and taxi
services. We are trying to develop the transport sector and we would
like the investors to come forward and suggest to us what kind of
investment will be suitable for their purpose, where the terms and
conditions will be subject to negotiations,” he said.
He explained all these investments will be on a public-private
partnership basis. “These investors can look into the bus operations,
the development of interchanges and terminals.”
Currently, Dr Hj Supry said there are about 100 local bus drivers and
that they plan to hire 300 more locals once the new bus service kicks
YB Dato Hj Mustappa said they will look into elevating these numbers
incrementally. “As temporary measure, we have to make do with the
foreign bus drivers, but eventually it is our intention that all the bus
drivers are Bruneians.”
He added they are in the process of setting up bus-driving schools in
Brunei. “The tender is being processed and there will be institutions
where Bruneians can go into to learn how to drive buses.”
Courtesy of The Brunei Times, 5 September 2016
Copyright © 2014 Land Transport Department. All Rights Reserved. Best viewed by
IE 9+ or Mozilla Firefox 12.0+