Papua New Guinea’s public transport system is one of the biggest obstacles to tourism growth.
It needs to be spelled out that the buses are dirty, inefficient and the standards associated with driver qualification, fare collection are not the kind you want foreign visitors or our own people to continue to contend with.
Health and hygiene standards for PMV’s are shameful and need to be improved. Individual ownership of PMV buses, while beneficial to the owners and operators, provides the bare minimum for the PNG commuter.
Having said that, we shouldn’t be improving our services only to impress foreign visitors. But it should be a service that we can be comfortable to recommend to visitors from other countries.
On nearly every tourism website, there are warnings against using PMV services.
Papua New Guineans deserve better and the government should step in to force the owners and the association to improve it.
Buses should be clean, air conditioned, smoke free and buai free. The driver should be able control the bus doors remotely. The drivers should be well attired, clean and their IDs should be publicly displayed for all to see.
This should be the minimum standard.
It is no secret that current system is unsafe for commuters.
There is little sense of duty and care by PMV owners and operators. It is unsafe for school aged children, girls and women. There is no sense of urgency, punctuality or safety. This needs to change. It is a system that is outdated and unfriendly.
Instead of going on strike and inconveniencing commuters, the PMV owners association should be seriously proactive and begin discussions with the government about a future that is very different from the current. A future where buses are clean, safe, properly regulated and not staffed by thugs who passed out of Rambo school.
I am encouraged by the move by NCD Governor, Powes Parkop to set in place better services for the people of Port Moresby. I support the discussions that a ticketing service should be used.
I would go further to propose that Papua New Guinean companies should own and operate bus services, instead of individuals. Simply because, regulating agencies will have better control and any breach will be punishable through a fine or a withdrawal of the company license.
On the government’s part, import taxes on the vehicles intended to be used for PMVs should be drastically reduced or removed altogether to encourage the purchase of new vehicles.
Papua New Guineans deserve better than the rubbish being served to them.