As in most developing countries, the demand for transport in Mauritius has risen dramatically in recent years. The transport system in Mauritius and the state of its buses are important topics because many Mauritians still rely almost exclusively on public means of transportation. therefore this has lead to an increase in public transport.
Transportation in Mauritius is characterized by the network of roadways, ports, and airports. The island was originally only accessible by boat until 1922, when the first flight landed in Mauritius.moreover There are currently no railways in Mauritius. There were previously industrial railways, HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_in_Mauritius” l “cite_note-2” 2 but these have been abandoned. A railway system existed from the 1860s to the 1960s. Due to persistent unprofitability from 1948 to 1953, it was finally closed in 1964. To cope with increasing road traffic congestion, a Light Rail Transit system has been proposed between Curepipe and Port Louis. As of 2011, it is still in the planning stages. in the recent budget of the year 2016-2017, the government has declared the project.
Additionally With the huge tax imposed on vehicles, a huge portion of the population in Mauritius is still finding it tough to purchase a car, even with the advantages of leasing. After several years of discussion and waiting, the present Government of Mauritius has decided to launch the Metro Express—a light rail transport system to better address transport problems for the country in the future. In an island having a traffic ratio of nearly 500,000 vehicles to a population of 1.2 million people, the project comes at a right time to better portray Mauritius with an alternative transport system in the years to come.
We are living in a technology-driven era, which helps to improve the lives of people. Nowadays, there are more and more cars on our roads and this is causing traffic jams during peak hours. The new Terre Rouge-Verdun link road does not suffice. Even if we build more roads, we will be destroying nature and opting for deforestation. The Metro will surely help to reduce traffic jams, as it can accommodate a large number of people and it is fast as well. the main characteristics of a convenient transport system is its convenience of use, efficiency, speed, safety, cleanliness and affordability for common people. “One major benefit of the metro is its ability to move a large number of people efficiently and in less time, resulting in time saving during peak hours, which was not possible with the traditional bus system. Likewise, metro systems are eco-friendly and if we see the current state of environment in Mauritius, this shall contribute to less air and noise pollution, owing to the fact that the metro has low power consumption. the Metro system will have a more positive impact. “The number of road accidents will decrease as well.
From a social perspective, public transport is often the only means of transport for the poor. Without it, they would be able to take up work within walking distance of their homes. So public transport improves the circle of opportunities. It also gives them greater access to education, healthcare and recreation. Public transport is thus important for improving sustainable mobility and it is the right approach to encourage low-carbon growth. Metro is more reliable in terms of energy consumption, has high carrying capacities – high volumes during peak hours, is eco friendly, reduces journey time by 50% to 75%. However, is such a huge investment necessary for a small country like Mauritius? If not then this money can be used elsewhere, such as the setting up of specialised hospitals and improving healthcare or even in the education sector. The Prime Minister further stated that the Metro Express project is expected to generate net job creation in the transportation sector itself and dismissed any apprehensions about job losses amongst bus employees. Pravind Jugnauth emphasised that it is estimated that in its construction phase, the Metro Express Project will create around 7,000 full time equivalent jobs and contribute to Rs 13 billion to National Output.
However the introduction of Metro Express, around 2,000 families will be impacted due to loss of employment. “Bus industry employees are in a stressful situation. They are afraid for the future. The government has not met these employees yet. theyydo not know what will happen to them. There are many elements that remain unclear. we are still unaware of the ticket price, whether old persons, students and invalid passengers will receive the same benefits as under the free transport scheme,” he says.The trade unionist argues that there is a need for modernisation but not at the detriment of people. “With the introduction of the Metro Express, there will be 40 per cent less commuters on the Curepipe to Port Louis route. The main reason put forward is the project will reduce traffic jam but other solutions could have been implemented. The government could have introduced flexi-time or decentralised various public units or departments.
there is a high possibility that the project might incur losses. “The government is making huge investments and the probability for the investment to be profitable in the long run is low for obvious reasons. Firstly, in Mauritius many individuals prefer to go to work in their cars. Despite different feeder routes to the metro stations, many people will not leave their cars in a parking lot to travel by train. Authorities cannot just compare Mauritius with Singapore. We are two different States. After nine in the morning, the number of commuters is low. Do we expect a light rail system to be viable by transporting only ten or twenty persons during the day? After six or seven in the evening, people do not travel. The concept 24/7 has not been developed in the country. People are afraid to travel at night. So the Metro Express will not be able to operate as it should.
the project will increase the public debts rather than solving the problem of our mode of public transport. Moreover, those not travelling by car will have to waste more time. They have to take a bus from their hometown, reach the metro station to take the train. Now, once in Port Louis, he has to travel again by another bus to reach his place of work. In all, the entire transportation scenario will get worse. Nevertheless, one big issue is the cost of the implementation of such a big project, and maintenance costs afterwards. It will be a long-term construction, which will cause lots of disruption to the locals. Logically, travelling by metro might be more costly than by bus owing to the comfort and time factor. Without forgetting our environment, what will be the impact on our flora and fauna? Deforestation to set up new routes for the metro? Or even private properties being located on the designated route. Last but not least, is our society prepared for this type of change and development?”
Even though it is relatively expensive to implement light rail, we do not suggest that communities abandon this mode of transportation. If a society obtains some intangible benefits from having light rail in its community, then one could justify the costs. The problem for economists and city planners is that it is very difficult to place a dollar value on these intangible benefits