The proposed unification of the public bus system is part of the New Providence Road Improvement Programme (NPRIP), funded by the IDB, which also involved the upgrading of New Providence’s road network.
The project, which is being financed by $500,000 from the IDB, and an additional $230,000 from the Ministry of Finance, is an attempt to encourage jitney operators and franchise holders to take the next step towards reform, and overcome what appears to be entrenched stakeholder resistance.
An IDB paper revealed that little progress towards practical jitney/bus industry reform has been made despite numerous reports and studies being presented to the government, some of which date back to 1992.
According to the IDB, around 280 buses serve the Bahamian people on 23 different routes.
Three companies have responded to a request for proposals to manage the pilot project for a unified busing system in New Providence, with this project expected to commence “shortly,” Transport and Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell has said.
Mr Campbell, during his recent contribution to the budget debate, said his ministry, along with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is financing the project, will “soon engage” in “discussions with respect to the identification of the company selected to move the project forward.”
Mr Campbell also said revisions to the country’s Road Traffic Act are expected to be completed by the end of the year, and that officials in his ministry are currently examining the bill “with a view to providing additional information to complete the final draft”.