Putting public transport on track
By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood
Are we mollycoddling our youngsters?
Are we giving them the correct fighting spirit to seek out what is right and go after it? I have been checking public transport buses of late and am surprised that the passengers are 90% of the time made up of expats and the Bahrainis who are there in the buses are of the 60+ generation.
There are rarely any young Bahrain men or women.
And yet it is not as if youngsters don’t need transport.
My banker friends tell me that the first thing young people do when they land a job is to apply for a car loan because they want the freedom of a set of wheels to call their own.
In places like the UK or India or even in nearly Dubai, more and more youngsters are taking to public transport to reach their colleges and places of work.
It is all about the mindset.
If we instil from youngsters a sense of pride in being independent and doing so by travelling by public transport, we shall make them more mobile, more employable and reduce traffic snarl-ups and pollution on our roads.
Public transport is all about discipline – about running the network in a timely fashion and with frequencies and a network that reaches most areas.
Right now, Bahrain does have a good and extensive bus transport network but we have to encourage our youngsters to use it.
From age 15 upwards, students can start going to school and college by bus and students can be given concession cards for using public transport.
We shall soon be getting a Metro Rail Network also which is expected to span the Kingdom.
To expect our people to suddenly start using the rail overnight is not possible.
We should lay the foundation so that they can accustom themselves to waiting for their transport, sharing space and planning their routine and route according to the available transport.
By laying down the tracks for optimum use of public transport today, we shall be better prepared to serve our future generations.