Maldives capital to re-introduce public transport with bridge

Government is looking to re-introduce public transport service in the capital Male to coincide with the opening of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which would link the capital with the airport island Hulhule and reclaimed suburb Hulhumale, housing ministry said Wednesday.

In an interview with Television Maldives, Deputy Housing Minister Abdul Muthalib explained that the ongoing government effort to solve the overcrowding issues in the capital need a suitable public transportation system.

He revealed that the government is already looking at a system which would be in place to coincide with the opening of the bridge.

"We need a public transport system in Male similar to the one being used in Hulhumale. Male would see a major change to the traffic flow when the bridge opens. We are working out a quality public transportation system that would minimize the need of personal vehicles including cars and motorbikes. That way we can significantly reduce congestion in Male," Muthalib explained.

A public transport system had been previously used in Male, however the service has now been discontinued.

The Deputy Minister further informed that a traffic survey and toll system were being designed by foreign contractors for the bridge, and that these features will be used to ensure the new public transport system in Male is a permanent one.

He stated that Male', Hulhumale' and Hulhule' will be connected by the system in points which will make it easier for the public.

The Housing Ministry has tasked the Hulhumale Development Corporation (HDC) to develop a 3 Kilometer highway to link the airport with Hulhumale to accommodate the bridge traffic. This project is also due for completion in 2018.