The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority held a competitive bidding process to select a consultant to undertake a transit feasibility study. This has led to the selection of the transit consulting firm, Transit Consulting Network of Ontario, Canada, to investigate the feasibility of operating fixed-flex route and paratransit systems. The study objective is to determine whether—under what conditions and at what cost—public transportation can be introduced, operated, and sustained on Saipan and, eventually, on Rota and Tinian.
Funding for the study is being provided by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration.
The project was launched on July 23, 2013, and is well underway in preparation for a series of townhall meetings from Aug. 22 to 28. A website is also being developed for the public to access information about the study and to provide ongoing input.
Transit Consulting Network will be undertaking a series of informal Transit Focus Groups and meetings from Aug. 22 through Aug. 28, which will involve members of the general public, transit customers, social agencies, existing service providers, the businesses community, political representatives, and senior staff. Following this, a web-based survey will be made available to the public. To ensure all residents have an opportunity to provide input, surveys will be also made available in paper form.
Based on the input received from all the stakeholders and best practices of other transit systems, service concepts will be developed then shortlisted for further consideration. The public will have another opportunity to participate by reviewing the report recommendations during the week of Oct. 14, 2013, before the final report is submitted in mid-November.
COTA looks forward to this study and working with the communities of Saipan, Tinian and Rota to develop a sustainable public transportation system that will meet resident and business needs today and in the future. (COTA)