Brunei's public transport system to undergo reforms

Brunei's public transport system to undergo reforms

Brunei has embarked on a journey to overhaul its public transport system this year.

With the launch of the Land Transport Master Plan and Land Transport White Paper, the public transport system is expected to see changes that promise a more integrated, rapid and efficient transport network.

Several improvements to the public transport system were proposed, including a new Bus Rapid Transit System and a taxi franchise.

The master plan was a result of a two-year study by the think tank Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies with four core strategies being outlined - reducing car dependency, keeping traffic moving, achieving sustainable society, and strengthening governance.

The master plan aims to pave the way to a future where Bruneians will become less reliant on personal vehicles, in hopes of achieving social and environmental sustainability.

Meanwhile, the Land Transport White Paper was launched on Dec 15, signifying a major step the country is taking to implement strategies set out by the Land Transport Master Plan.

The white paper is a document that covers land transport policies, strategies and initiatives for achieving the set vision as well as prescribing steps toward improving land transport in Brunei holistically while using technology as an enabler.

Brunei currently has three forms of public transport - public buses, taxis, and water taxis - which are all lacking in coverage, efficiency and quality that limit its attractiveness to local and foreign users.

Public buses

The multi-coloured bus system, formerly known as the "purple bus", consists of six routes around the Brunei-Muara district and is run by five private operators using a fleet of 105 buses, while three more bus routes operate in Belait district.

There are also currently three inter-district bus services linking the Bandar Seri Begawan bus terminal with Seria, Lamunin and Tutong town, with no bus services operating in Brunei's substantial hinterland and in Temburong district.

Currently, the most popular bus service in the country is the free shuttle bus that takes passengers from Masjid Jame' 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah pick up and drop off point to Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital.

According to a previous report this year, the number of passengers had risen from 12,000 to 60,000 over the years, including 3,500 daily average number of outpatients and visitors recorded by the hospital.

In the master plan and white paper, the bus system will face the most changes and improvements with a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system planned, as buses constitute as the main means of public transport in Brunei.

The new BRT system will incorporate four lines across the Brunei-Muara district with a total of 48km of bus lanes, and a frequency of four minutes between each bus.

The new system also targets a total of 126 BRT buses that would run 29,000 trips during the morning peak hours and a total of 228,000 trips per day.

The current bus system would also be enhanced to create a BRT bus feeder system that supports the BRT system, taking passengers to stops not in the BRT lines.

The current bus fleet of 105 buses, in 2013, will also be increased to a total of 275 buses with average bus headway of 10 minutes and a total of 8,000 bus trips during morning peak hours, which is an increase from less than 1000 in 2013.

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