GIS - 17 September, 2019: The soft launch of Metro Express is scheduled for the end of September 2019 and as at date around 95% of the phase one of the light rail project, which comprises the stretch from Rose Hill to Port Louis, has been completed.
The Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, made this statement today in the National Assembly to a Private Notice Question with regard to the launch and eventual start of commercial operations of the light rail project.
The Metro Express Project, he said, is one of the most complex and prestigious infrastructural projects undertaken in Mauritius and is progressing towards substantial completion. All major infrastructural works including all fly-overs and bridges at Rose Hill, St Louis and Caudan along with underpasses at Chebel, Montee S and Coromandel have been completed, he underlined. The Minister indicated that the trial runs are expected to start as from 01 October 2019 and that passengers will benefit free ride in the month of November.
With regard safety issues, the Minister stated that the design and development of the project has been developed using a fully integrated approach, recognising the different functional, statutory and regulatory requirements, local and international safety standards and planning approval conditions in existence within Mauritius. Presently, each system is undergoing testing and the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit in collaboration with the Police, the Road Development Authority and Metro Express Limited (MEL) are currently doing a review exercise to ensure safety.
Moreover, he said, MEL has already developed a series of safety policies and procedures to cover all the processes and services involved in the safe operation and maintenance of the Light Rail System and meet the regulatory requirement He added that MEL has launched an extensive sensitisation and education campaign on safety for use and interaction with the LRT system and this will include broadcast of videos, leaflets, posters and radio campaigns.
As regards maintenance of the Light Rail System, Minister Bodha highlighted that needful is being done by the MEL which consists of two main parts, namely the maintenance of Light Rail Vehicles and the Maintenance of assets such as bridges, flyovers, rail stations, signals, Depot, and other amenities.
He added that some 200 buses would be involved out of which 100 would be used as feeder buses and 100 would be allocated to new routes. He informed that Chinese authorities have agreed to a special grant of Rs 500m which will be used to finance the acquisition of some 100 electric buses to service the feeder routes. The feeder bus would be free for all passengers that transfer to and from the light rail system, he said.
Concerning affected stakeholders along the light rail project, Minister Bodha stated that commercial spaces will be delivered at Rose Hill Central Station and that businesses owners affected by Metro Express will be given first opportunity to consider and rent these commercial spaces. In addition, he said, provision is being made for the promotion of the affected businesses along its corridor within its integrated communication marketing campaign. Some additional taxi ranks will be constructed at Place Margeot and at Beau Bassin, Coromandel, and Port Louis Victoria stations to provide more opportunities to taxis and to facilitate transport integration, he concluded.
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