Transport Ministry’s promises

Transport Ministry’s promises


Abdo Khal

We have been successful in exposing the shortcomings of the Housing Ministry and its failure to realize the government’s dream of resolving the housing crisis. If we do the same exercise on other ministries we are likely to develop depression and disappointment.

However, I believe that people should follow up projects and promises of ministries in order to change the present awful and pathetic situation.

Let’s us visit the Transport Ministry, which allocates billions of riyals annually for giant road projects. We have been waiting patiently for long for the implementation of these projects and celebrate the ministry’s achievements in changing the face of our cities and townships.

We were happy when the government decided two years ago to allocate part of the budget surplus to the Transport Ministry to carry out new road and railway projects in various parts of the country. We thought that it would help the Kingdom to have metros and public transport systems like other countries.

Yes … we had great expectations. But by the passage of time we realized that none of those projects would be materialized in the near future. We thought our eyes have problems in seeing the ministry’s projects and achievements and we were looking for powerful eyeglasses to see the reality.

We have seen the Shourah Council sharing our views on the Transport Ministry. About a year ago, the Shourah approved an emergency plan to transform the country’s main roads into expressways and proposed to hand over the truck weighing stations to the private sector.

It also called for increasing the number of signs along roads to encourage motorists to drive with caution, providing safety measures at work sites and constructing quality detours to reroute traffic along roads under construction or maintenance.

The consultative council has also urged the Transport Ministry to study the performance of Saudi Public Transport Company, which monopolizes the country’s city and intercity transport. But we don’t know whether the ministry has implemented any of these important proposals.

As citizens we have been waiting to see the ministry’s achievements with patience. The ministry’s failure has prompted us to demand its division into separate ministries for public transport, roads, dams and tunnels and railways.

We have to lend every support to the Transport Ministry to change its present situation. We have observed that no sooner a road project is implemented than the maintenance work starts. A lot of time is wasted in conducting feasibility studies.

Moreover the ministry’s annual reports are incomplete and its response to queries is much lower than people’s expectations.

Even after seeing all these shortcomings, we citizens keep mum and look for powerful eyeglasses to see the reasons for the ministry’s failure in playing its role in the development process.