Traffic in Lebanon is increasing on monthly basis; not only because of the bad shape of the roads but also of the rising number of cars owned. According to Urban Transport Development Project, 50% of Lebanese households own 1 car, while 25% own at least 2. And why is that? It’s due to the absence of a well-organized public transport system.
If in the 70’s Lebanon had successfully established efficient public transportation including taxies, buses and a railway, we wouldn’t have lacked ways of finding solutions to the horrible traffic jam we get stuck in, all year long, in 2016. The thing is that we rock when it comes to bragging how intelligent and successful Lebanese people are, but yet we cannot work all together to solve this problem that affects our lives directly… the waste of time on daily basis alone is a massive shock, we spend a yearly average of 720 hours out of 4380 day hours on the roads; more than 16% of our supposed to be “awake and productive time”, not to mention the high stress level effect on health, decision making, social and personal lives, etc…
Studies and articles show us statistics on paper while people chatter around about ideas to re-establish the railway, build a bridge along the coast from Tabarja to Nahr Kaleb, widen the highway in Jounieh or even build a subway system. With all due respect, it has been, is and always will be “words in air”; there will never be enough space or budget to consider those solutions. Where the simplest, easiest and cheapest answer is right in front of us.
Improving our public transport! Hell yeah, and why not!
Why not have controlled public transport systems? Why not have scheduled bus routes? Why not have clean and comfortable shared vehicles? Why not have fare transport fees? Why not have dedicated lanes on the highways for public transportation? Why not have fast passage systems to provide faster travel service? Why not have larger vehicles to fit more individuals? Why not have designed maps with easy points of access and exits? Why not find a solution for us Lebanese of all religions, of all political persuasions, for us Lebanese of Lebanon?
Is it a politically impossible demand OR a humanly ingenuous right?
Michella Salameh Project Manager