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Imbert wants Govt to build on PNM’s rapid-rail legacy
Opposition MP Colm Imbert and a former minister of works and transport says Government needs to build on the work on the proposed rapid-rail system already accomplished by the People's National Movement. He said in a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian, that ten years ago the country surpassed the international limit for a rail system which is 10,000 people an hour.
He said In T&T the figure is 30,000 people on the roadways an hour. The issue, Imbert said, was not whether a rail system was needed but what kind of rail system the country should use. "It has been established beyond a shadow of a doubt that a rail system is needed," he added.
Imbert said when the Ministry of Works placed advertisements for expressions of interest for a light rail system approximately a year ago, it went about it the wrong way. “This is why the process is now stalled,” he added. He said the Ministry of Works placed the ads itself, when it should have been done through the Central Tenders Board.
Minister of Transport Chandresh Sharma said Government was exploring all options in addressing the traffic issue. In a telephone interview Sharma said they were looking at park-and-ride and car pooling as avenues for addressing traffic congestion. The ministry, he said, would seek to examine worldwide best practices. When asked if a light-rail was one of those options, Sharma repeated that the Government was exploring all of its options.
Dr Carson Charles, president of the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco), said a feasibility study must be done before any plans to implement a rail system. He said Government was formulating studies on transportation and looking at rail as an option.
He said there were different rail systems the world over. The feasibility study, he added, should look at a variety of issues such as how maxi taxis would co-exist with the bus service system. On the issue of the water taxi, Dr Charles said Nidco decided to cut off-peak trips since they were not as viable as the peak-time trips.
He said during the peak-time trips the taxis would hold approximately 300 or more (with the capacity of 400) people. During the off-peak trips, he said, the taxis would hold approximately ten per cent of that. Charles said that was not a scaling-back of operations and the Government was looking at using the taxis on other routes, such as on chartered trips to Grenada or Venezuela. A chartered trip to Grenada had been undertaken already and one to Venezuela is planned for later this year.
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