Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said they are now finalizing plans for a public transportation system that the community could use as alternate way of getting around the island. The public transport aims to ease traffic on the island, especially during rush hour.
Vehicle traffic usually occurs in the morning, especially in areas near schools, where students are being dropped off while people are on their way to work. The same thing happens when people are on their way home, with congestion taking place along Beach Road in Garapan.
Torres said they are hoping to launch a public transportation system in December this year. “We are in the final steps of initiating the CNMI’s first ever public transportation system. Hopefully, it would start in December.”
“The system would be able to transport workers to their jobs, students to their schools, and give everyday residents an alternative in making their way through our island,” added Torres.
He said the bus routes are already in place and they are just waiting for two big buses that would go around the island. “The first stage will be headquartered at the hospital. Fom there, it would go south [on] Middle Road toward As Terlaje Hill at [the Northern Marianas College].”
The planned route, from NMC, would have the bus going toward Shell Dandan and turning right going down to As Lito and down to Han Nam Road in Koblerville where it would work its way to Beach Road all the way in front of the Hyatt Regency Saipan and back to the hospital.
“That will be our first route with stops along the way. We just provided the first phase to give people an alternative and better way of transportation. We are working on the time between buses,” Torres said.
He said the public transportation system under the Commonwealth Office of Transport Authority is a project that his administration would be proud of and part of better things to come for the people of the CNMI.
As of now, COTA provides on-call public transportation, mainly for those with disabilities.