BEIRUT: Parliament’s Committee for Public Works, Transportation, Energy and Water Tuesday discussed a new public transportation plan aimed at easing traffic jams in Beirut and suburbs by circulating 250 buses and building a railway to the north.
“This is not the first time that we considered a plan for improving public transportation, but traffic problems and difficulty of circulation in Beirut and its outskirts have exacerbated to a point beyond anyone’s tolerance, making it a priority after water and electricity,” said the head of the committee, Future Bloc MP Mohammad Qabbani.
Qabbani said the unstable political situation and shaky finances had so far delayed the endorsement of a public transportation strategy, which he said should be instituted in parallel with the new traffic law.
He pointed out that the Public Works Ministry, Beirut’s municipality and the Council of Development and Reconstruction had each prepared its own study to improve public transportation to resolve the traffic problems.
“It is crucial that all these institutions discuss their proposals and coordinate efforts in order to reach the best solutions,” Qabbani said.
He said that under the proposed plan put forward by the ministry, 200 buses would operate on 20 lines to serve Beirut and its suburbs, while 50 others would link the capital to the main cities in the various governorates, namely Tripoli, Sidon and Chtaura.
The plan also calls for 911 bus stops, including 310 inside Beirut, which would be equipped with message signs to keep users informed about any delays or changes in schedule. The buses will operate between 6 a.m. and midnight in the first phase.
Qabbani said the strategy targeted traffic problems at the northern entrance of Beirut, proposing the establishment of a railway for the transportation of people and goods between central Beirut and Maameltein.
The project will be managed by three private operators.