Transport Minister Zane DeSilva confirmed today that talks are underway “to explore greener options and a less costly bus service”.
Updating MPs on the current state of Bermuda’s public bus service, the Minister said: “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between this Ministry and the Rocky Mountain Institute was signed in November 2018…
“A request for information (RFI) was issued in January of this year to identify suitable bus options. This information will be used to prepare the next request for proposal (RFP) for new buses,” he added.
In a Ministerial Statement delivered in the Lower House this morning, Mr DeSilva told MPs that the first of eight new buses was delivered in February this year, with the second bus expected to arrive by mid April, followed by “one bus every three weeks through to August 2019”.
He also noted that “MAN (our bus manufacturer) and DPT technicians recently completed the mid-life refurbishment of fourteen (14), 2009 series buses”.
“This involved the replacement of the engine, transmission, and differential on each bus. This project will provide five more years of reliable operation for these buses.
“Upgrading the bus service is not limited to new buses,” he added. “Access to real-time updates on the bus service and cancellations is a reasonable expectation in 2019. DPT is working to provide real-time passenger information through online services, such as Google Transit and local third party applications (Apps).
“This will be implemented in 2019.”
“Consistent with modernizing the bus service, this Ministry recently concluded an RFI, and is in the process of preparing an RFP, for Digital Fare Media.
“The current system of cash, paper tickets and tokens is antiquated. Electronic ticketing provides revenue assurance and the ridership data necessary to analyze and improve the bus service. Having the ability to purchase tickets online, tap and go will improve access to the bus service and enhance the customer experience.”
While noting that last Monday marked the start of the new 2019 Bus Schedule, he stressed that the new rosters “will address the shortage of available buses, eliminate bus cancellations and provide reliable service levels”.
“The new schedule operates on 50 buses at peak times, which means there is some reduction in frequency, and is a temporary measure while DPT replenishes the aging bus fleet,” said Mr DeSilva.
” The new bus schedule is off to a good start, with sufficient buses to meet the public bus schedule. The school bus service is operating without the additional support of minibuses.
“As the schedule is new, some adjustments are to be expected. The Operations team at DPT is closely monitoring the performance of the new schedule and actively addressing issues as they arise. For example, extra ‘sweeper’ buses are being deployed to supplement the schedule, where required.
Reaffirming Government’s commitment “to providing a quality public bus service that commuters, students and visitors can rely on”, he also highlighted several initiatives now underway at the Department of Public Transportation, including:
- The New 2019 Bus Schedule
- New Bus Purchases
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Real-Time Passenger Information System, and
- Digital Fare Media
The Minister concluded: “These initiatives are evidence of the progress to date.”