A new transport system is needed in Port Moresby

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Do you think the NCDC should take over the city’s public transport system?


Seven years ago, the Brisbane City Council donated ten used 40 seater buses to the National Capital District Commission. These buses could carry 15 more passengers than what the current public motor vehicle buses (PMV’s) can carry.  Not that the current PMV’s are unable to carry that extra load, but the donation indicated that the NCDC were leaning towards managing the entire public transport system in the city.

Since that donation, there hasn’t been much of an improvement in the operation of the city’s transport system.

PMV numbers have increased and so too passenger numbers.  But the running of the PMV’s have remained unreliable and quite frankly erratic.

NCDC isn’t to be blamed for the continuing transport problems as the responsibility in managing and issuing of PMV licences falls under the jurisdiction of the Land Transport Board.  But the Land Transport Board hasn’t come clear on how it intends to improve the ongoing problems commuters face daily.

Just last week, a tribal fight between two tribes from a particular region resulted in PMV’s ceasing to operate while these two tribes hurled rocks and whatever other items they could lay their hands on.  It’s not clear why the PMV’s decided not to operate but the chances are many PMV owners were in some way related to the fight. It is believed that over 80% of the PMV licenses are issued to owners of a particular region and tribal fights are common from that region.  So when tribal fights do occur, the chances of PMV operations coming to a halt is high.

The NCDC, like other licensing services that come under its regime, must take a hold of controlling the city’s entire transport system.  It must be operated in such a way that people are comfortable in getting on clean buses and being dropped off at the correct bus stops. And bus operations should not be affected by any tribal or ethnic clashes.

Since the tribal clash, there has been a sign of hope from the Governor of the nation’s capital that he intends to do what he can to get the NCDC in control of the city’s public transport system.  There is little doubt that this is the way forward.  The NCDC has proven that it is more than capable of running the transport system.

Photo by Howard Stephenson
Photo by Howard Stephenson

Before the 90’s, Port Moresby’s transport system was managed by the local authority and there was a major bus depot at Hanuabada.  The service we are informed was top notch where the buses were clean, bus fare/ticketing was more organised and most importantly the buses were safe and reliable. Maybe history can teach us a lesson.

Do you think the NCDC should take over the city’s public transport system?