EDITORIAL- Time to pursue long-term solutions

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FOUR bus stops in central Honiara have been closed for use as of yesterday.

The closure will be for an indefinite period of time.

The decision came from a joint meeting held in Honiara last week, attended by the Honiara City Council (HCC) Law Enforcement Division, Traffic Police and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) Road and Transport Unit.

This is part of efforts to address the daily traffic congestion in Honiara as the city prepares itself for the 2023 Pacific Games.

City Mayor Eddie Siapu says the closure of the four bus stops will allow relevant officers to monitor and assess how best traffic congestion can be addressed.

A review, he added, would be carried out once all assessments are done.

Traffic congestion in central Honiara is now a new issue.

It’s been with us for many years.

There were many contributing factors.

Key among them is the increasing number of vehicles in Honiara.

Yes, the number of vehicles running the roads appears to have increased every month.

These include public buses and taxis.

Closing off four bus stops as part of the effort to address the issue may not really address the congestion.

That’s because the number of public buses entering the city centre will remain the same.

When you see the number of public buses coming in from both sides of the city during the day, you can tell the two bus stops at the Central Market simply does not have the space to accommodate them.

This is where the congestion issue really lies.

The most effective step to addressing it is to control the number of buses coming into central Honiara.

This is where zoning the city comes in. Meaning public buses will be required to serve only the zones they are allocated.

Doing that would reduce the number of buses coming into the city centre, thus minimising the congestion.

Solutions like this must be backed with regulations and enforcement to make them work.

The traffic issue has been with us for many years now. Authorities should have come up with long term solutions years back.

They failed to do that so the problem keeps cropping up every year.

Honiara is a rapidly growing city.

City councillors and other stakeholders must be proactive and think ahead when tackling pressing issues affecting the city.

Short-term solutions will not address the issues.