Sunday, June 16, 2024

Public Transportation project proposed for San Pedro, Ambergris Caye


Draft design

As San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye continues to expand, the need for more services continues to increase with the growing population. One of these services is a more affordable way of commuting. As a result, a private entity, Taly Corporation, has proposed investing in a public transportation system for Ambergris Caye. The proposal indicates that in the beginning, a portion of the profits will go to a non-profit organization on the island. After meeting the return on their capital investment, 100% of the profits will be donated to an island non-profit group.

The project would be under the San Pedro Public Transport Company Ltd, an offspring of Taly Corporation, a company based in the United States with 15 years of operating in San Pedro. According to representatives from Taly Corporation, the efforts to bring this project to fruition have involved meetings with local and central government authorities. The proposal is yet to be approved. The plan is to offer island residents public transportation options besides only taxis.

At a recent meeting in San Pedro, on November 30th, Taly’s representatives, including its Chief Operating Officer, Carolyn Lloyd, sat down with the minister responsible for transport, the Honourable Rodwell Ferguson, the Mayor of San Pedro Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez and the Chief Executive Officer Marconi Leal Jr. in the Ministry of Transport. According to Taly’s representative, the discussion on the project went well. Minister Ferguson was provided with the proposal paperwork to take with him to review and share with the central government. They also shared the same information with the San Pedro Town Council authorities and the traffic department. Mayor Nuñez was not available for comment on this new proposal.

Taly Corporation stated that they started sharing information about the project with the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, and Logistics on June 27th of this year via a letter. There was no response, and until now, the proposal has not received the needed approval. “San Pedro Public Transport Company Ltd is ready to commence operations, pending government approval,” Taly said in a statement. They added that the presentation of such a project is based on the recommendations of an independent study conducted on behalf of the Caribbean Local Economic Development Program or CARILED. “Why has no progress taken place to begin offering this necessary service to the people?” they questioned. Following the discussions between the San Pedro Town Council, Minister Ferguson, and Transport Department, the team behind San Pedro Public Transport Company say that further considerations are postponed until 2023.

The proposal in a nutshell
The transportation system will be funded entirely by Taly Corporation without the need for public funding. All profits will be donated to local non-profit organizations. Any group may apply for funding and a local board will choose where the money goes.
The public transportation system will include multiple pricing options, including reduced fare options for students, the elderly, and the disabled. There will also be monthly passes. Fares will be issued through a digital ticketing system. Taly noted that fares would be determined based on rates dictated by the Ministry of Transport

The route and vehicle
As per the international transport consultants, the size of the public vehicles could be 14–16-seater shuttle buses. The initial operation will operate 24- hours per day, seven days per week, and the service will create local jobs. The route includes 20 designated bus stops, ranging from Mahogany Bay Village in the south to Secret Beach in the north. Of importance is that travel luggage will not be permitted.

Once the San Pedro Public Transport Company Ltd can start operating, their fleet size and frequency of the routes will increase as demand grows. The company is also exploring electric buses to lessen environmental impacts. They are also considering offering lower fares as ridership increases and additional concessions from the government.

Read the full proposal here. 

The Sun will continue following this story.

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