A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for the provision of a Shuttle Service on a six-month pilot basis and covering the region of Quatre Bornes under the Metro Express project, was signed, this afternoon, at Air Mauritius Building in Port-Louis. The Service is expected to be operationalised in December 2021.
Signatories were Mrs S. D. Gujadhur-Nowbuth, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Land Transport and Light Rail; Mr I. Bhurtun, Deputy Road Transport Commissioner, National Land Transport Authority (NLTA); and, Dr Das Mootanah, Chief Executive Officer, Metro Express Limited (MEL). The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, and other personalities were present.
The demand-responsive Shuttle Service (15-seater vans) will provide for seamless first and last mile connectivity from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Station to its surrounding regions.
The Service will cover five routes namely: Sodnac, Candos, Vieux Quatre Bornes, Palma and Bassin. MEL will launch a Request for Proposal in September to engage third parties for the operation of the Shuttle Service. The award of contract is scheduled for November 2021.
The MoU has as objectives to come up with a first of its kind, viable and efficient first and last mile service to the Light Rail Stations; and assess technical, financial and commercial viability during the Pilot in view to extend to other regions.
As per the MoU, MEL may engage a third party to operate the shuttle service using 15-seater vans and the operating days are from Monday to Sunday with a flat fare of Rs 15. Metro and Non-Metro passengers will be allowed to use the service.
In his address on the occasion, Minister Ganoo stated that the finalisation of the MOU is a collective effort of all partners in the transport sector to further modernise the land transport system. Metro Express aims at enhancing the transport service by offering a rapid and reliable travel experience and the light rail has progressively become the preferred transit mode of citizens, he recalled.
The proposed Shuttle Service, he emphasised, is an innovative approach to enhance connectivity to and from LRT Stations. The Service will allow for a better integration of the light rail to other modes of transport and MEL will work with third parties in the transport sector to allow commuters access easily LRT Stations, he said.
The Minister also announced that car owners will be able to use a new personalised registration mark on their license plates with different possible combinations of names (to a maximum of nine alphabets) and numbers. The cost will range between Rs 50 000 to Rs 200 000, he informed. This new personalised registration system will no doubt bring revenues for the State in these trying times, he said.
In addition, Mr Ganoo informed that vehicles used to transport tourists will now be allowed to convey employees working in private firms till 31 December 2021 and that the replacement age of standard and executive vehicles which are used for tourists has been reviewed.
For his part, MEL's CEO highlighted that the Shuttle Service being rolled out is seamless and has been worked out with different stakeholders such as the NLTA, the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit and the Ministry of Land Transport and Light Rail.
Metro Express, he remarked, is here to bring innovation and is all about sustainable transport and integration. Connectivity is extremely important such as any alternative mode of transport MEL is here to bring this integration between all other transport system, he added.