30 September, 2007

The Urban public transportation in Amman is changing ... BUT

So in away or another, the 21 new Mercedes buses manufactured by Elba house Jordan were matriculated and started their operation among the CMTC's fleet during the first half of September (The period in which I was out of town).

The buses started operating on new lines as well, which are:
University of Jordan – Wadi Al-Seer (which operates on the following route: UJ – Sweileh – Medical City - 8th Circle – Bayader Wadi Al-Seer – Wadi Al-Seer – Al-Rabahie – New Bader – Belal – Um Al-Osood , serving by this quite an entire new area that has been added to the Greater Amman area for over a couple of years now, and which still suffers transportation problems like the days when those were separated villages).
University of Jordan – Al-Jabal Al-Shamali (Rusaifeh)
Raghadan – Eastern Neighborhood – Salhiet Al-Abed – Al-Mugheirat (this are is in south eastern Amman in case you don't know my dear reader)
Raghadan – Marj Al-Hamam ( operating from Raghadan Terminal – Wadi Al Remam – Middle East intersection – JRTV street – Al-Quds Street – Southern Marj Al-Hamam's intersection with the airport road [where the new Al-Quds Colleague buildings are situated] – Marj Al-Hamam – Alia housing Neighborhood ) which is also a very important corridor that has been ignored from public transportation for good years now.

and even during last week I heard they started operating on the route of (Raghadan – Marka) after the big number of passengers suffering from the small number of rusty Coaster buses moving on this route got stuffed on daily basis.

So far so good .... but! Thats the problem, we always have some BUTs in here.
Buses moving on those routes do not seem to have schedules as promised by the CMTC, and the buses do not seem to operate after sunset, or very rarely in some cases after sunset!

Another BUT, is that some changes are being done on old routes! One example is the very famous Western Circular route (Al-Da2eree Al-Gharbee), which is not operating anymore on a circular route starting someday during last week, and yes without any notice, the route was changed, and the people were leftout in the streets having to take another mean of transportation.

This route now goes from the 8th circle - 7th Circle – Jaber Complex – Al-Haramein Intersection – Jubilee Intersection – University Hospital – University of Jordan – Sweileh intersection ... and backward. Which means it doesnot complete the circle as before from Sweileh to the 8th Circle via khalda's intersection and the Medical City.
One confusing thing was that my self was riding the other day on this route after i took the bus from the UJ area wanting to go home at near the Elba House factory in sweileh, when the bus U-turned from Sweileh circle and parked saying that was the last stop, and the bus had around 30 people in it, including one lady which happened to get in the bus just after meters before Sweileh circle!

So now, in case you are around the medical city are or The end of Mecca street lets say, and you want to go the jubilee intersection or Western Rabie, you have to take 2 buses instead of 1, a bus to sweileh, and from there to take Al-da2eree Al-gharbee, same applies to a lot of young guys wanting to go from the Sweifieh area to Al-Hussein park.
And since the area between the King Abdullah II Street (Medical City Street) and Al-madina Al-Monawarah street is not that far geographically, the CMTC will loose quite a bunch of clients that will use a TAXI instead of riding 2 buses with almost the same price of a taxi. And even more expensive than a ride with a Taxi when talking about 3 or 4 persons together.

One more confusing thing is that the CMTC put some of the buses that used to operate on Al-Da2eree Al-Gharbee on line Nr 2 (University of Jordan – Wadi Al-Seer) which passes through the King Abdullah II Street through which Al-Da2eree used to pass. And with the sticker mentioning the route as “Al-Da2eree Al-Gharbee” still there in front of the bus, and only to be covered with a small sticker saying (Wadi Al-Seer – UJ). Leaving again a lot of people confused as they get in the bus and asked to pay 0.41 JD instead of the usual 0.24 JD, and again confused when the bus driver reaches the University Hospital telling them its the last stop.

One further confusion is Line number 1, this is actually University of Jordan – Raghadan.. but during the last weeks I mentioned that the new line between the new northern terminal and Al-Mahatta terminal was given also Number “1” !!! on the new buses operating on it... despite the fact it has a completely different route!
This is pretty confusing because there is quite a good number of people who notice the line number 1st, since its big, and because both routes pass by a the same street at a certain stage in their movement!

On the other hand, the CMTC claims to be launching back an e-payment technique for collecting the buses fees, using pre-charged cards, just like Asia Transport Co had before. This will be through the turkish kentkart, and the charging will be, according to the CMTC available at a lot more venues than it used to be before (only in Raghadan and the Hashemite University).

More news will be available, as available.

My only hope for now is to have the new buses will maintained and preserved, because the CMTC has quite a bad history when it comes to buses maintenance ever since it was “Al-Thelal”, and all of us can remember the terrible state in which the brand new buses of the airport express became, right before Sarya Express took over the airport's route. And all of us can currently see the bad state in which Asia's DAEWOO buses nowadays after they were joint into the CMTC, and even the brand new Mercedes buses for disabled people were turned into a miserable state.
And as my friend fayez said, "The time came when we are afraid from the bus company's way to deal with the buses, rather than being afraid from the people riding into them!".

Update: http://nasimjo.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post.html

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