The Iraqi Ministry of Transport announced on Wednesday (August 29th) the start of an initiative to renovate 35 public transportation terminals in Baghdad and other provinces.
The campaign will affect terminals used for transport between provinces such as Nahdah and Alawi al-Hillah in Baghdad, Nasiriyah in Theqar province, the Mosul terminal in Ninawa, and the general terminal in Basra, in addition to smaller intra-provincial terminals.
Advisor to the Minister of Transport Kareem Nouri said the rehabilitation work "includes building shades, waiting areas, restaurants, and commercial shops."
"The terminals' basic facilities will be upgraded, such re-tiling and lighting pathways, planting trees in vacant areas, and building service annexes to wash and lubricate vehicles operating on the transportation lines," he said.
The garages will be equipped with smart gates which allow entry only to vehicles that are registered in each terminal's database to ensure security and appropriate traffic control.
Nouri said the project "is part of our ministry's efforts to improve the service offered to citizens using public transportation by providing all the possible means for comfort to reflect a civilised image of the country".
He predicted that the rehabilitation of all terminals will be completed by the end of 2013.
Ghaleb al-Zameli, deputy chairman of the Baghdad provincial council's services committee, underscored the importance of rehabilitating old transportation terminals and building modern ones.
"The majority of the currently used terminals date back to the 1970s and 1980s," he said. "Their basic facilities and structures need to be rebuilt and expanded to handle the increasing number of passengers and vehicles."
"We also need to build new terminals with advanced technical specifications and high service standards to reduce the burden on the old ones, in addition to ending the proliferation of illegal terminals," he said.
"We need to achieve optimal absorption of population growth and improve the transportation process, both internally and externally," he said.
"There are regular meetings between the Baghdad provincial council and the Ministry of Transport to discuss the issue," Zameli said. "We emphasised in previous meetings that the terminals' development process should be exemplary in terms of service and civilised in nature, similar to what is found in developed countries."
"We proposed several ideas such as the construction of small re-fuelling stations inside terminals to provide fuel at subsidised prices in collaboration with the Oil Ministry," he said. "This step would help reduce crowding at the main re-fuelling stations inside the cities and reduce the cost of transport fares and costs."
"We also need to ensure that construction of new terminals for external transport should not be inside Baghdad' city centre to avoid what might result in traffic congestions," Zameli said.
Ali Zahroon, member of the Baghdad provincial council's transport committee, praised the terminals' rehabilitation efforts and called for opening the door to investments in establishing such projects.
"This is a good move toward improving the level and reality of public transport terminals in Baghdad and other provinces to provide the best service to citizens while adding a touch of aesthetics and civility and," he said.