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Acknowledgement I
Executive summary II
List of Abbreviation III
List of Tables and Figures IV

1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Transportation System in Mauritius 1
1.1.1 Traffic Congestion Issues 1
1.1.2 Quality Deficiencies in the Bus Services 2
1.1.3 Parking Problem in City Center 2
1.1.4 Safety and security 2
1.1.5 Others 2

2.0 Alternative Mode of Transport 3

2.1 Alternative Strategy 3
2.2 Characteristic of the Light Railway System 3

3.0 Analysis of Light Railway Transit 5

3.1 Economic Evaluation 5
3.1.1 Cost to the Government 5
3.1.2 Opportunity Costs 5
3.1.2 Economic Growth 6

3.2 Environmental Evaluation 7

3.2.1 Road Traffic Impact 7
3.2.2 Air Quality 7
3.2.3 Noise and Vibration 7
3.2.4 Land and Property 8
3.2.5 Impact on sites of cultural and historical Importance 8
3.2.6 Safety Issues 9

3.3 Social Evaluation 9

3.3.1 Public Transport Users 9
3.3.2 Communities along the route 9
3.3.3 Impact on Bus Companies and Employees 9

4.0 Conclusion and Recommendation 11

Travel Management ‘Introduction of the Light Railway

References 12

1 Introduction
Life in today’s Mauritius was built on a degree of continuity, of some certainty and understanding of
the success of the past; it was largely based on sugar cane cultivation, textile manufacturing and the
EPZ and more recently tourism. In tomorrow’s Mauritius, there will be a need for more flexibility, to
adapt to new circumstances and markets quickly and to build on the opportunities offered by an
increasingly-global economy. As the economy has grown, vehicle ownership has risen rapidly: car
registrations per 1000 population have increased by 34% since 1994 - a rate equivalent to over 50% in
the last ten years. To overcome this issue there has been the need for government intervention from
introducing an alternative mode of transport.

1.1 Transportation System in Mauritius

The transport system in Mauritius comprises of several distinct parts:
• Infrastructure: roads, airport and port
• Operating services: buses, taxis, public road, airlines and shipping services and
• Private users: users of cars, motorcycles, bicycles, own-use commercial vehicles, private boats
and aircraft, and pedestrians.
All these are trying to achieve the same basic purposes of moving people and goods between a
location for their diverse activities, whether work, social or recreation. Even though the transportation
system in Mauritius have a certain goal to target such as to make use of economic resource efficiently,
to support environmental goal, to minimize accident, to give people and enterprises the accessibility to
their activities and supplies etc., fail to meet these goal in the present and prospect for the future. There
are a series of transport deficiencies which are encountered and continue to be in the local context:

1.1.1 Traffic Congestion Issues

We should all agree that in Mauritius there is a dominant transport problem which is the severe traffic
congestion afflicting all traffic entering and leaving Port Louis during the morning and evening peak
periods. This problem has become acute in the last five years as more people have obtained cars and
started to use them to travel to and from work. The population has grown a little, and there has

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probably been some growth in employment in the city centre, but the predominant reason for the
congestion is incontestably the growing use of cars.
1.1.2 Quality Deficiencies in the Bus Services
The bus industry has been deteriorating for many years. In particular, the operation of buses by a
mixture of private companies, individual operators and public corporation which has lead to a
regulatory system that is restrictive and lacks the ability to encourage a responsive bus service. The
government has tried to keep bus fares as low as possible but the result has been, in general, an
unsatisfactory level of service, although there are exceptions. Most of the buses in Mauritius are
unsuited to urban conditions, many of them are poorly maintained, driving behaviour care little about
passenger’s comfort, there is little information about routes and times, and bus stations are often
unattractive and unpleasant. As a result, the public image of the bus industry is poor and most people
are obviously glad to escape the buses as soon as they can acquire their own transport.

1.1.3 Parking Problem in City Center.

At present, it appears to be just possible for motorists to find parking space, though often with
difficulty. There are parking regulations which are too strict and even there are parking charges of
Rs20 per hour which is going to be applicable in the coming days in Port Louis. Convenient parking is
essential to the life of the city, especially for residents, businessmen and shoppers, and yet, at the same
time, the supply of parking must be restricted and controlled.

1.1.4 Safety and security

The quality of life in all the main towns is spoiled by the excessive intrusion of motor traffic: Both
parked vehicles and moving vehicles make conditions for pedestrians uncomfortable, disagreeable and

1.1.5 Others
There are other key issues that the transportation in Mauritius is facing which are as follows:
• Traffic Management measures are not implemented constantly,
• Little attention is being devoted to road maintenance as it cost huge amount of capital,
• The volume of road accident is increasing due to a rise in the traffic especially in the town.

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2 Alternative Modes of Transport

2.1 Alternative Strategy
It is very unlikely that either traffic management programme or policy measure can solved the problem
of chronic traffic congestion and others experience in Port Louis area and other towns at least in the
medium to long term. Thus, the AMT strategy is based on the introduction of the ‘Light Railway
System’ along the line between Curepipe to Port Louis. The objective will be to provide a fast, modern
public transport system that will appeal to the car owners especially and for the public as a whole.

2.2 Characteristic of the Light Railway System

The construction of the LRS between Curepipe and Port Louis – a distance of some 25km would
consists about 13 stations, many located in town centers along the route where existing transport
terminals already exist. The alignment and indicative station locations are illustrated in Figure 1. The
end-to-end journey time would be approximately 32 minutes and vehicles would be air-conditioned
Headways would vary by time of day, but are expected to be of the order of 5 minutes in peak periods.
Access to stations would be by an integrated system of comfortable and reliable feeder buses.

The project has been conceived as a BOT (Built Operating Transfer) concession, with maximum
participation of the private sector. It is also clear that the public sector will need to make a substantial
financial contribution to the project which will have a total cost of Rs6.1 millions over 3-4 years, for
which the government is contributing Rs3.4 millions and the Rs3.1 millions remain for the private
Major estimates of the different costs are as follows:
 Infrastructures (Including land and relocation of Utilities) Rs2, 906 millions
 Installation and equipment Rs1, 421 millions
 Rolling Stock (Trains) Rs1, 848 millions
Total Rs6, 175 millions
The highest cost of LRS installations is related primarily to the cost of electrification. The Study has
recommended a much more active approach on the government’s part, including the establishment of a

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properly resourced project management unit, with adequate technical and administrative skills to
ensure that the project is implemented in such a way that the desired policy objectives can be
achieved. Moreover the fares of the rail ticket will be 10% higher than the actual bus fares which will
reach approximately Rs23-24 compared to the normal bus fares. So the government of Mauritius is
refining the project in details, analyzing the viability (more than Feasibility study) to know exactly at
what level they need to invest in this project for which the rollingstock to remain for the private sector.

Figure 1: Map of the Light Railway Network track in Mauritius

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3 Analysis of the Light Railway Transit.

To examine the implication of management challenge behind the introduction of the LRS in the
Mauritian economy, we need to focus on the real impact that it will create in terms of benefits and
limitation. Thus, we need to balance both the positive and negative force to be able to justify whether
the challenge is tolerated or discarded. This evaluation will be effected from the economic, social and
environmental point of view.

3.1Economic Evaluation

3.1.1 Cost to the Government

There are various obstacles to the achievement of an ambitious transport strategy. The most obvious
one is lack of money; the strategy must recognize the limited resources available. Transport also needs
space, which is very scarce where it is most needed. However, the resources required involve more
than money and land; they also require the capacity to implement the reforms and the ability to
manage the transport system. As mention earlier the LRS project will cost the government Rs6.1
millions and there were needs to involved the private sector who will contribute Rs2.7 million. The
reasons behind this strategy is to allow the private sector a share of the market and after some year of
operation the latter return it back to the government which will intern have full control over it.
Improving the situation within the limits of available resources presents a difficult challenge for
government. It can only be done with coherent, integrated plans and policies and the support of the
whole community.

3.1.2 Opportunity Costs

With other project in mind that the government had forecasted to do, they need to refine their planning
and budget, since they have to scarify some project to concentrate their resources and time in the LRS
because the latter is becoming a necessity for restoring our economy in a better position. For example
the government can decide to reduce the investment on traffic management which account to Rs710
millions and make use of some capital in the LRS project. With the development of the LRS we can
compete with the transportation system found in other countries, attract more visitors since it will be a
new mode of transport, convenient, rapid, high quality services. The indirect return that the
government will acquire with the LRS will weight more than its actual cost.

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3.1.2 Economic Growth

Light Rail can have some generative economic effects in boosting the regional economy. From a city
planning point of view the observed strong distributive effects might be much more interesting. A
methodology has been assessed on the impact of altered travel patterns by some travelers. This uses a
demand-delay function to estimate the average delay per vehicle. The estimated impact on the various
classes of road user is given below in Table 1. From the projection made over a period of 35 years, the
traffic growth of 2% p.a. was assumed for the first 20 years, falling to 1% p.a. The benefits were
projected in line with traffic volumes.

Table 1: Estimated Impact of LRS on the Trip.

Type of passenger or No. per day Time saving Cost saving Gain/loss in
vehicle per head per head (Rs) utility (Rs)
Peak Hours
Bus 15,241 20 0 0
Bus -- LRS 39,258 25 -3 5
Car/Van 52,858 15 20 0
Car/Van -- LRS 7,642 10 54 -25
Motor cycles 8,349 10 5 0
M/c -- LRS 651 15 20 5
Off-peak hours
Bus 9,657 5 0 0
Bus -- LRS 44,843 10 -3 5
Car/Van 48,546 4 5 0
Car/Van -- LRS 954 0 38 -25
Motor cycles 5,721 3 5 0
M/c -- LRS 279 5 15 5

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3.2 Environmental Evaluation

In Mauritius, the natural environment is a very important resource, thus any impacts on it have
implications for both the quality of life of its citizens and future economic development in the tourism
industry. It is therefore in the country’s interest to ensure that any intervention of construction follow a
possible standard. In the context of the LRS they will undertake an EIA (Environmental Impact

3.2.1 Road Traffic Impact

As mention before there is a severe traffic congestion problem in Mauritius. This is due to the increase
amount of private cars, roads, goods vehicles etc. basically in the town and city. This result to
accidents, pollutions and limited spaces etc. After having analyzed all these issues, we found that the
LRS will trim down all these impact by providing a grade-separation at the most important crossing
point in order to limit the frequencies of vehicles during the peak periods. The fact that it has only one
route, there is no question of traffic congestion and passenger will have a schedules time to reach their
destination compared to road transport.

3.2.2 Air quality

The implementation of the LRS is expected to reduce road traffic in the conurbation by almost 15
million vehicle-kms per year, thus reducing the emission of smoke into the atmosphere. Just imagine a
city like Port Louis in 10 years without any measures being taken. Even now, people refuse to go to
Port Louis as they are irritated by the atmosphere that prevails there. Research shows that the
electrically powered LRS in fact produce no air pollution at all that we are actually experience. In
Mauritius, another important factor is the increasing number of tourists, most of whom have been
attracted by the promise of a high quality environment. It is particularly important, therefore that this
image of high quality is carried forward into the transport sector – and there is no good reason why
Mauritians should not enjoy the benefits of a higher quality as well.

3.2.3 Noise and Vibration

We are totally agree that there will be the noise pollution impact particular in residential areas such as
Quatre Bonnes, Remy Ollier, Rose Hill and Beau Bassin. But the noise that these regions are actually
facing is not less than what the LRS will causes. On what ground could we compared the actual noise

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pollution that exists in Port Louis and that of the LRS? Study is being done in these areas, alleviation
measures will be taken to reduce the noise to the minimum. There might be the creation of a buffer
Zones along the route, controlling the set-back of buildings which may be from 10-20m allowing
space for landscaping with pedestrian and allocate space for LRS interchanges and this will be
particularly useful in minimizing the ground vibration from the LRS. It has been found that LRS
(electric) has less impact in terms of noise with 78-84 dBA (Lmax) compared to bus system with 85-
88 dBA (Lmax). All these issues finally give an advantage to the LRS.

3.2.4 Land and property

Land and property is becoming a major issue nowadays. We should have realized that we are having
more and more difficulty to move in town and the city of Port Louis because of less space. Since the
alignment of the proposed LRS follows an old railway alignment, overall land and property acquisition
is likely to be minimized. In the majority cases where along the alignment, there will be market fairs
situated such as Rose Hill, Quatre Bonnes, Vacoas and Curepipe, the LRS will be located below
ground level using a cut-and-cover construction. There might also be the acquisition of some land in
the vicinity. The cost of these acquisition and relocation of properties is estimated to be around Rs850
million. The effect may not be immediate but in the long term, since it will take time for people to
adapt to the new mode of transport and then realize what importance the LRS have done to our

3.2.5 Impact on sites of cultural and historical Importance

We approved that we should respect our culture and some historical sites, but we should not too
optimistic at a point that we are realizing that our environment is degrading due to pollution, traffic
congestion, accidents if we do not react instantly. But measures have been taken for certain cases for
which the alignment is free from constraints imposed by cultural and historical sites with the exception
of The Mariamen Temple near the Caudan Roundabout which seem to be affected and for the
Apravasi Ghat, the government has given assurance it will not be disturbed by the LRS. We must not
look only for the present but also for our generation who are evolving.

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3.2.6 Safety Issues

The volume of accident we are having each year is quite alarming for our small economy. With the
introduction of the LRS we discover that the number of vehicles on road will be minimize at a large
extent thus resulting more security. It has been assume that the introduction of the LRS will be
operated to strict safety standard and also the alignment will be fenced throughout its route.

3.3 Social Evaluation

3.3.1 Public Transport Users
Many people traveling by bus are complaining of the poor quality of services they receive such as bad
condition of the bus, stop each time on the route, slow moving due to less passenger, sometimes the
seat are not appropriate and convenient etc. It’s because of much inconveniency with bus that most
people prefer to have their own private car. But, even though with traffic congestion in the peak time,
they got trapped for long hours on the route from Pont-Fer Phoenix to Port Louis. Hence, with a well
operated and designed LRS, the public transport user will experiences an immediate improvement in
their quality of life and they will find traveling mode more convenient to have better access to job. The
fares are not much above the ordinary bus fares. It will be more or les the same as the existing public
transport system.

3.3.2 Communities along the route

The introduction of the LRS will disturb the residence of some communities. There will be a number
of residential properties which need to be relocated at around 35 mostly in Sodnac and near the
roundabout of Caudan in Port Louis. It will be a real challenge for management because it will be
quite difficult to move those medium and high class citizens from their residence. When doing the cost
and benefit analysis for the project, we find that there is no other choice since the benefits of the LRS
weight higher that the cost to the community. But the government will try to minimize the number
during the design phase by altering the alignment slightly.

3.3.3 Impact on Bus Companies and Employees

According to an estimate made by the Iberinsa study (1994), with the introduction of the LRS there
will be a reduction of about 290 buses and the number of staff that would be redundant would be
around 670 and the three main bus companies which would be mostly affected are: National Transport

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Corporation (NTC), United Bus Services (UBS) and Rose Hill Transport (RHT).The impact are
clearly indicated in the latest National Transport Authority (NTA) statistics as shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Impact of the LRS Project on the Bus Company Employment
Scenario Statistic Company

1993 Fleet (Buses) 474 248 74 796

Total Staff 2608 1479 317 4404

1999 Fleet (Buses) 518 255 81 854

Driver and 1777 1008 237 3022
Other Staff 801 510 73 1384
Total staff 2578 1518 310 4406

1999 with Fleet (Buses) 518 255 81 854

Driver and 1243 612 194 2049
Other staff 373 184 58 615
Total Staff 1616 796 252 2664

2010, Fleet (Buses) -121 -126 -44 -291

due to
of LRS
Total Staff -377 -393 -137 -907

From the table above we can imagine what impact will there be in the unemployment figure of
Mauritius in the year 2010 only with the introduction of the Light Railway System. The figure 907 can
be compared with the staffing requirement of around 360 for the LRS thus there will be net
redundancies of 547 which is quite an alarming number. It is recommended that a suitable
compensation package, probably similar to that currently being negotiated for the sugar industry VRS
will be included in the budget of the project.

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4 Conclusion and Recommendation

The proposed alternative mode of transport in the Curepipe-Port Louis corridor is a key element in the
government’s urban transport strategy, and the need for its implementation has now become very
urgent. Given the above analysis, the choice between technologies for implementing the Light railway
system is clearly not an easy one. In transitional economy such as Mauritius, the main issue is the
tension between providing affordable transport services for the less well off people, while at the same
time attracting car user for whom service quality is critical. The issues that then arise are whether the
public finance can maintain the grant resulting from both low tariff and high service quality which the
LRS will provide.
Moreover, implementation of the project would need to be accompanied by policy measures and
adjustments that are not easy to introduce. At that time i.e, early 2000 the Mauritian government had
made the decision in favour of the LRS and had already launched command. But with the coming of a
new government there was a need to re-examine the technologies available to implement the system
which has eventually delay the process.
The reality, however, is that there is much room for improvement, both in terms of efficiency and
quality in the transport industry. With the way we are moving and at that speed we are developing our
economy, we are facing with lot of troubles. We must all agree upon the fact that the transport industry
is doing more harm than good even though it is a means to have access to our job and earn a living.
The present situation is not acceptable, neither it is sustainable; it has becoming worse for many years
and will not improve if we continue ignoring it. Improvement must therefore be made for the long-
term good of Mauritius, however difficult the implementation process may be in the short-term.
Government of Mauritius is working night and day to find a solution to these issues and we like it or
not the Light Railway System will be operational within 3-4 year. The question remain, ‘are we
prepared to accept the new mode of transport and how far will the individual leave their vehicle at
home and travel by train’?

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• Supplementary Report (2001) ‘Alternative Mode of Transport’. Integrated National

Transport Strategy Study, Republic of Mauritius.
• Bayliss D, 2000 ‘Review of Urban Public Transport Competition’ by D Bayliss, Halcrow
Fox for
UK-DFID, 2000

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