“BI SHARAF SITT JEDDAK T7ARRAK BA2A!!!”
… You know you’re stuck in heavy traffic when you hear someone yell that out while sticking his head from the window and cars are honking like you’re in some kind of parade. EVERYONE has experienced Lebanon’s traffic jams. They last
long that you’ve probably heard NRJ’s “
HIT MUSIC ONLY
” at least 50 times. You have to be a self-control beast to keep yourself from ripping the hair off your head. Well have no fear; the World Bank is here! Lebanon’s “
has shown interest in financing a proposed public transportation project after a meeting with our Minister of Public Works and Transport Youssef Fenianos. You might not have to go bald after all!
The Juicy Details
Public transport in Lebanon is beyond terrible, and the numerous buses, minibuses, taxis, and
only contribute to making Lebanon’s traffic jams a living nightmare. All these factors lead to a high operational cost for car owners such as fuel consumption, insurance, and car maintenance services. Our hero, the World Bank, may invest in a total of $600 million in projects to ease our agonizing traffic jams. It’s called the Greater Beirut Urban Transport Project (GBUTP), and its initial goal is to improve mobility to Beirut’s northern entrance between Tabarja and Beirut (Phase 1 with a total cost of $200 million). The project will, later on, cover the South and East of Lebanon.
How will we get from Point A to B?
The GBUTP is based on a system called Bus Rapid Transit, which uses large buses that operate on dedicated lanes. Unlike our conventional bus system, “Users would buy tickets from stations instead of paying on the bus” stated Ziad Nakat, a senior transport specialist at the World Bank. So it’s a bit like the Connexion bus system, only faster. Moreover, the Jounieh highway will be widened for the purpose of this project. Around 150 big buses and 250 feeder buses will be used for transportation. Furthermore, parking lots will be built next to the stations for those who want to park their car and use the Beirut Rapid Transit system.
The Good Stuff?
A round trip between Jounieh and Beirut would cost around 5,000LL. That’s pretty cheap wouldn’t you agree? Regarding how much time it would take, the trip will last around 40 minutes instead of an hour and a half when traffic is at its worst. You gain roughly 50 minutes to do whatever it is that you need to do. Oh, and did I mention that there would be free Wi-Fi?
But what about the current bus/taxi drivers and their jobs?
Mr. Nakat believes that these drivers will have two options:
- Move to other areas for business.
- Work within the new system.
For the drivers concerned with the first option, it’s probably not the outcome they are looking for. It’s always difficult to start over and create for yourself a new system of work. However for the people that will partake in the second option, working in an organized platform could be an attractive offer and possibly very beneficial.
Contributed by Yahya A. Abbas