20 March, 2006

Responses upon Ahmad & Firas's recent posts regarding Public transportations in amman

After Ahmad & Firas's recent posts regarding Public transportations in amman, what is written in this post is actually the my comment's on Ahmad's Post, also, The Schedule Firas asked me for is included.

Dear Ahmad, Sorry for not being able to comment earlier,and for not having the proper time to do yesterday, since I had loads of stuff to say about your post and the contributors' comments.

Allow me please to correct some information regarding what you and the fellow contributors wrote here, based on my knowledge as a day by day Public Transportation user, rather than a part of a transportation intelligence project.

1- “...noticing the new buses on the Medical City-Downtown line..”: They aren't new! Asia Transport Co is the licensed investor for this line (Line Nr 43) since its beginnings, i know the 1st 2 lines they have started operating were this one as well as line 41 (Khelda - Raghadan).

2- Asia Transport Co's fleet of buses primarily consists of DAEWOO buses, just like the one you have taken and photographed, they have started with 30 buses, and now their fleet exceeds 145 buses, most of which are DAEWOO buses. Those DAEWOO buses ARE NOT “military style” buses, but ones that were made for Urban transportation, and with variable capacity, obviously, you got in a (45+20) version (that is 45 seated + 20 standing), some versions accommodate (30+30) and even (25+40), those come in with the front rows of 1 seat in stead of a couple, and a wide standing area in the middle.

As for the other buses in the fleet, 5 Mercedes Citaro – Low plate have been introduced in 2003, those are not only european style, but also specialized for Disabled people, those mostly move on The medical city and Hashemite University routes, which are probably the most used routes for this type of passengers (We have such people with special needs studying at our university), I guess you most probably have seen those Citaros.

Also Newly Introduced (Last January) in Asia's fleet as a soft test are 16 meter long Mercedes buses, also european style, but not that suitable for disabled people though, those new buses can accommodate (45+65) and are amazingly comfortable for standing, but not that Ammani Street's friendly with their 6 wheels on 16m length, so they mostly use them for the Hashemite University's routes, but also saw them operating on Khelda's line. I guess they got 12 buses of those.

3- “The electronic sign on their front”: Yeah, Finally they got them on, instead of the old static written plates in the place where those electronic ones are situated now.. I guess those electronic plates are what also made you think the buses are new (PS: Some of them are 7 year old models btw ;). The old static plates were confusing since those urban buses have privileges to move on any of the lines their company is operating.

4- “..The driver was communicating with someone (central command?) with a dashboard installed Xpress phone ...”: Actually its a couple of guys in Raghadan called Fathi and Bassam ;) hehe, yeah they introduced Xpress phones lately, Asia's is using GPS as an experiment at the moment, and not using Xpress's GPS, but using some dedicated administration devices brought all the way from Germany! The Administration device is situated somewhere above the driver's console and consists along with a GPS tracking system, a hidden camera that reports high resolution processed images of inside the bus among the “central command's” request! The size of this device is half the size of a car radio!!!! In our project's preliminary investigation report, we were surprised about it, those stuff were installed back then (Jan 29) in only 5 buses (I recall bus nr 78,79,& 27). their object is 100% enterprise and disciplinary oriented though. & again, still experimental.

5- “..as I saved at least 1 JD by taking the bus..”: ! I guess a Taxi wouldn't have taken less than a couple of JDs ;)


6- “Our bus stops don’t have any information on bus lines and time tables”: They do! Believe you me they do! Some plates were Installed 1st in 2002 (By Asia), & damaged by our beloved residents and citizens. The PTRC re-installed vertical stands in 2005 that don't have only Asia's buses on them, but some of those were also damaged (though they are solid ones similar to ads stands available in malls), and some are installed in wrong places, hint hint: there's one at the (3rd circle – Dakhelie) Service stop opposite to Le Meridian, another one at the (Dakhelie – Abdali) service stop as you get on the street to Abdali from the Dakhelie Circle, both must be situated in entirely different locations ;)

7- “That Amman doesn’t have a bus map” It does! But the GIS employee at the PTRC resigned and there's no replacement ;) (NO I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS WHAT THEY TOLD US!). Partial Maps are available on the previously mentioned plates and stands.

8- “That we still haven’t managed to create a bus ticket system”: Think Smarter! Didnt u notice something big and green above the plexiglas container you through your money in ;) Asia Transport has been using a Smart Card (Yes even smarter than Istanbul's since i've experienced that one also Mr David ;) the card is smart enough so that you don't even need to get out from you pocket or handbag! It collects the fare exactly and displays it on its monitor (with red digits) along with the amount of credit you still have, smart card charging corners are available at the medical city, Raghadan, Safeway intersection at the beginning of Garden's street, and the Hashemite University. And Hint Hint, they are using this system since late 200-early 2002, that is when they stopped collecting money but the exact fare from the riders.

9- “..unless we build one heck of a public transport system in this city, we are setting ourselves up for a major urban disaster..”: Can't you guess that the urban disaster is more in the people their self, rather than the public transport system!? The public transportation system is there with all its positives and negatives, and with over 350,000 persons using it on daily bases(In Amman). You can give me any 2 points in amman and I'll be able to get to them using public transportation + a lil bit of walking, people, even bus rider's are not used to walk nowadays, take al-baiader bus( the one you took before) during day time and notice the fact that some people stop the bus before and after the 5th circle, or the 3rd or the 6th , once a girl insisted on the driver to stop in the middle of the 5th circle even!

Who asks can get to the desired place after all, there's a 1st time for everything, and this is what the million of car drivers in amman are not affording!

I'm really proud to study in a university whose 90% of students depend on public transportation, despite the troubling times they faced with it, a couple of years ago the students even boycotted Asia Co for a whole week after they raised the fares with over 40%, in one week the company got back to the previous prices, this is what i call people power, despite everyone had to suffer then because there was no official operator for Zarqa Line for about 2 years.

10- & Yes THERE IS A SCHEDULE :) All the urban buses in amman powered by the 3 Urban buses operators (Asia, Al-Thilal, & Al Tawfiq) DO HAVE A SCHEDULE! And Yes, Variable ones according to peak and off-peak hours.

Asia started implementing it back in 2001, and supplied them on the plates they installed (as mentioned earlier) and as brochures for their “Clients”, I have one my self used in our project's fact finding analysis, the 2 other operators, that started gradually since 2002, had similar frequency schedules on their route starting 2004. & By the way, Al-Thilal & Al-Tawfiq's fleets are powered by 100% Jordanian Made Urban Buses, Al-Thilal's consists of 2 Jordanian Mitsubishi models, huge ones “the military-way if you still insist” and mid ones that are used for the routes that pass throughout neighborhoods (just like Raghadan- Da7eit Al-Rashid), those last ones are like humvys by the way ;) you can feel the 4x4 power in them ;) Al-Tawfiq's are powered by mid size mitsubishis just like the previously mentioned, but mainly by Jordanian made Volvo B7s, those are huge enough to accommodate (60+25) ... yes 60 seated.

Here's the schedule for Asia's line as requested upon high popular demand by Firas:


Line

Nr

Line Path

Frequency of Buses in minutes according to periods of times



5-7 20-22

7-9 14-18

9-14 18-20

26

Raghadan – Prince Mohammad St – 5th Circle – 7th Circle – Wadi Al-Seir

Every 15 minutes

Every 10 minutes

Every 10 minutes

27

Raghadan – Prince Mohammad St – 5th Circle – Abdoun – Industrial Zone

Every 30 minutes

Every 15 minutes

Every 15 minutes

28

Raghadan – Prince Mohammad St – 5th Circle – Abdallah Ghoshe St – Khelda

Every 60 minutes

Every 30 minutes

Every 30 minutes

41

Raghadan – Prince Mohammad St – Wadi Saqra St – Wasfi Al-Tal St – Tla'a Al-Ali – Khelda

Every 15 minutes

Every 10 minutes

Every 10 minutes

42

Raghadan – Prince Mohammad St – Wadi Saqra St – Wasfi Al-Tal St – Tla'a Al-Ali – Khelda – Dabouq

Every 15 minutes

Every 10 minutes

Every 10 minutes

43

Raghadan – Prince Mohammad St – Wadi Saqra St – Mecca St – Medical City

Every 30 minutes

Every 15 minutes

Every 15 minutes

46

Raghadan – Abdali – Shmeisani – Naqabat Complex

Every 30 minutes

Every 20 minutes

Every 20 minutes

11- “..it’s a bit risky to depend on it if you have appointments and if your schedule is not really fluid and flexible..”: Yes indeed lina, but not because of the schedule, but the traffic situation it self in amman, probably the most challenging point in our project is not really having optimal trip duration for the routes, thus any Transport Intelligence management system must be self learning as far as people still depend on their own cars to block the traffic in the capital, I recall my observation for the public transportation in romania, where people became “because of wealthiness” dependable on their own cars instead of public transportation, the public transportation became less available, with less passengers to serve (thus with less overcrowding problems) but, at the same time with less satisfaction for its clients because of the traffic jams and congestions.

12- “..a train line is being considered between Amman and Queen Alia Airport.”: Ohoo! This still a far away project, as it'll gonna be the 3rd extension of Amman-Zarqa Train project, the 2nd extension is from Mahata (the Train station) to Sweileh, and yet the 3rd is the Mahata – Airport, I guess this wont be accomplished even before opening the yet to be built new terminal at QAIA.

& finally, Yes, We need more, and way a lot of work to do, but we “as people” demanding those stuff, need also to know, or rather get interested to know, where are we now! Don't forget that many voices comparing our public transportation with the european system assign drivers to serve their childern's movements! That is of course in case they don't have more than 3 cars! It's also the matter of mentalities and fixations.

Anyway, glad you got in a bus ahmad, and had the joy to find a lil Jordan inside the urban bus, nothing beats taking the urban buses, you get to see and know all sort of people, with different interests, cultures and mentalities.



Technorati Tags: Ahmad, Firas, Response, Public, Transportation, Bus, Schedule, BiSCA,

1 comment:

Firas said...

Thanks a million Naseem dude!
You are right, the nice looking buses are Mercedes!And they are not brand new, at least that is how they looked in the dark.lol

Now if I only had the time I would have used buses exculsivly for one week and blogged about that.
Thanks a lot
You see (Naseem Tarawneh) calls himself (Nas) that is why I've said the full Nas/eem not the half (NAS)