Bahrain will implement a BD2 million ($5.30 million) project to set up more than 500 modern bus stops across the country in the next two years, said a senior official.
The project will be executed by Bahrain Polymers and Steel Factory in co-ordination with the Transportation Ministry, said company chairman Muhammad Farooq. :We will build 550 of these ultra modern structures complete with a facility to have a small kiosk as well as vending machines for the benefit of commuters," he added. He was speaking at a Press conference following a signing ceremony at the Movenpick Hotel, Muh-arraq.
"The shelters will start to come up from August and the first one will be operational in November," said Farooq. "We will start to build these at the rate of 15 every month." Farooq said the project would not cost the government anything and it would also not generate any revenues for the first two years.
"After two years, we have committed to give BD27,500 to the government from the revenues we generate," he said.
The revenues would be generated from advertising on the shelters as well as a certain area around it. "We have the sole advertising rights for the shelters and hope to generate good revenue from it," said Farooq.
Managing director Mohammed Swalheen said the company won the tender after outbidding 11 international contractors. "These environmentally friendly shelters will replace all existing ones as well as add to them over the next two years," he said.
"We are hoping in the next few months, the local bus service would be considerably improved and steps taken by the government to encourage more and more people to use public transport." Swalheen said the shelters would give a whole new image to the public transport system. "The transport sector will be revolutionised in the next few years and we will be part of that process," he said.
Transportation Ministry Under-Secretary Shaikh Bader bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said there were plans to increase the number of public transport buses on Bahrain's roads. "We also intend to increase frequency so as to encourage more and more people to use public transport rather than their own vehicles," he said.
Shaikh Bader said the contract with the current transport company (Cars) would end next year. 'The new company that will come in will be required to considerably enhance services," he said. Interior Ministry customs affairs head Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who was until recently Transportation Ministry under-secretary, said the ministry would only act as a regulator for the shelters and ensure they were properly maintained and operated.
"The aim is to give a whole new look to the public transport system. This is the beginning of that effort," he said. Officials from the Pakistani and Indian embassies as well as those from the ministry and the company were present. - TradeArabia News Service
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