Today’s First Meeting of the INDC Working Group that is following up on Lebanon’s COP21 climate action targets was very informative. It was good to hear updates from Dr Ziad Nakat on the World Bank-led Greater Beirut Urban Transport Project that we keep reading about in the news. From today’s presentation, the project seems to combine the MoPWT-DGLMT’s ‘Pilot Project’ for a comprehensive bus network in Beirut with three BRT ‘backbones’ on the northern, southern and eastern axes.
We would have liked to hear more about how this project will fit into the existing transit system. Indeed, there’s a lot left unsaid when the project is referred to as “the first public transport system in Lebanon” while also saying that there are “important challenges related primarily to arrangements with existing public transport operators.”
We appreciated learning about the EU-funded SISSAF Project, and their work with the MoPWT to develop a Land Transport Strategy. Again, it wasn’t clear how this fits into existing projects, including the GBUTP, but the comprehensiveness of the project was impressive.
It was interesting to learn from First Climate Consulting about plans to implement a car scrappage and replacement program next year, focusing on ‘red plate’ vehicles in the first phase. Hopefully, this project will also take into consideration why transit operators keep their vehicular maintenance costs down, and, indeed, why so many — especially retirement-age men — buy or rent red plates and start driving taxis in the first place.
Our favorite takeaway from the event? By a show of hands, it seemed that we were the only two attendees who took the bus to the conference. Climate action starts today, no?
And so it finally happened, I found someone else who enjoys (and maybe needs) the bus system as a way of commuting (easily, calmly, punctually) throughout the city and further on. I was never keen on driving, I learned it late and never enjoyed it and had to stop it due to hearing issues (the problem with the hearing meant I could not anticipate what other drivers were going to do – my own driving even if not enjoyed was top notch). So what did I do? I went back to taking busses as I always have.
Read our guest-post on Beirut/NTSC — thanks Tarek!
Merci, Agenda Culturel!
‘Le but c’est d’expérimenter, de pousser les photographes à s’intéresser à la question des bus tout en passant un bon moment .. Nous espérons vraiment que leurs remarques et observations sur les trajets, ce qu’ils auront remarqué en prenant le bus, nous aidera à développer notre cartographie et nos idées’.
And it’s happening tomorrow! To confirm your spot as a photographer in the Bus Map Photo Action, please don’t forget to register at http://frame.life/Events!
“Au croisement Cola, le long de la corniche, à toute heure du jour et de la nuit, les bus à Beyrouth sont partout, charriant des effluves de goudron et de… jasmin le long de leurs routes aléatoires. Pourtant, une partie de la population semble fermer les yeux sur leur existence. Avec leurs plaques vermeilles pour la plupart fièrement illégales, leurs colliers de gardénias accrochés au rétroviseur, qui oscillent au gré des pirouettes des conducteurs, et leur application folklorique du code de la route. Au-delà du joyeux capharnaüm de leur organisation pour le moins pittoresque, des Beyrouthins ont décidé d’ouvrir les yeux sur la richesse cachée des transports publics de la ville : c’est la devise du collectif « Bus Map Project ».”
A big « merci beaucoup » to L’Orient-Le Jour for this gorgeous article!
The system is remarkably self-sustainable, even though it is almost entirely unregulated.
We loved sharing our bottom-up, incremental vision of infrastructural activism with The Daily Star!
What do you think? Are we “hiding behind our fingers” as one commenter claims?
“The mapping tool is just an opening for a needed change in activism. We need to advocate [for improvements in the sector] from the point of view of a bus rider.”
Thanks for the feature, al-Monitor!