New bidding system will limit private vehicle congestion, says Transport Minister

The Ministry of Transport is drafting regulations that will limit applications for private vehicles via a bidding process, in an effort to halt further congestion of cities such as Male’.

“The idea is to control the rising number of vehicles on the streets of Male’,” said Transport Minister Adhil Saleem. “73 percent of people on the street are pedestrians, but the streets are small, especially with two rows of parked motorbikes, and pedestrians are being pinned against the wall.”

The new regulations, which will soon be published in the government’s gazette, will see a certain number of license numbers released to the public each year through public auction. The numbers will go to the applicants who score the most points, and not necessarily the highest bidder.

60 points will be allocated for vehicles with zero emissions, 50 points to the highest bidder, and 10 points for brand new fossil fuel vehicles. No points will be given for imported second hand vehicles, Adhil explained.

“We estimate that this will mean it will cost Rf100,000-200,000 (US$6485-12970) to put a brand new electric vehicle on the road, and Rf300,000-400,000 (US$19455-25940) to put a fossil fuel vehicle on the road,” he said.

The Ministry is also seeking to reform the taxis, Adhil said, which were currently operated like private vehicles rather than as a professional service.

“It’s encouraging the number of taxi drivers who have switched to driving the new buses. I think the scheme has been very successful. Already we can see little improvements in order on the main streets where the buses travel,” he said.

Co-founder of local environmental NGO Bluepeace, Ali Rilwan, said the bidding scheme sounded positive as long as it did not put vehicle ownership only within reach of the privileged.

Male’ already was way beyond its capacity for vehicles, he said. “More high rises are going up and there is just enough room for pedestrians.”

“When school kids come out on a road like Chandhanee Magu there is no space and the road closes,” Rilwan said.

It was a “good question” as to why so many cars and motorbikes were needed on a 2.2 square kilometre island, he noted.

“It’s a fashionable thing – it’s trendy for people to spend their free time riding around.”

People needed to be encouraged to use bicycles, he said, but said many were put off by the high rate of theft.

“Fifteen years ago bicycles had to be registered with a number plate. But when registration was relaxed in the late 1980s, the police were no longer able to identify bicycles and they were frequently stolen. People mark chickens and coconut trees on the islands, but not bicycles.”

It was not uncommon for a student to have to buy 7-10 bicycles during his school life, Rilwan said.


15 thoughts on “New bidding system will limit private vehicle congestion, says Transport Minister”

  1. This a good idea with bad affects, after sometime only the rich can buy vehicles like Adil Saleem.

  2. Vehicles are considered a luxury item and a small place like Male can't accommodate to have vehicles in every single home. Now some houses in male are having more than 10 cycles and 3 cars. If every one start doing this think of the environment we have to live.

  3. Sounds like a good scheme apart from the 50 points awarded to the highest bidder. This will inevitably mean that the rich folk will be the only ones able to afford a motor vehicle.

    It would have been fairer to eliminate the 50 points based on the highest bidder and just draw lots from those who qualify based on the other criteria.

    That will mean that not only the rich, but also anyone who qualifies will have a chance to put their vehicle on the road. Transport Ministry needs to rethink this, since the current scheme will definitely favour the mega rich.

  4. The objective of this policy is to limit the less wealthy people from owning vehicles. this is a way to separate rich from the rest - and would worsen the class disparity, So in future, the less wealthy can only afford the used cars of the rich. If research shows that 75 percent people like to walk, it's best to ban all non essential vehicles.

  5. The inclusion of a bidding process for private ownership is highly questionable and unorthodox.

    Eliminating the bidding process will be fairer if the process is to continue as follows.

    A quota is of course desirable and very much affordable. Such a quota might very well be placed at the root - in allowing select enterprises to import a limited number of automobiles. Such companies could place bids for the license to import those vehicles and the selected enterprises' adherence to the import limits could be better monitored.

    Perhaps I misunderstood the news report. If what I have suggested is what Adil is advertizing then he has my support.

  6. Since 73 percent of the people are pedestrians, it is only proper to have 73 percent of the road space for walking. Sadly at present there is less than 10 percent of the road space for walking. The vehicals take the lions share of the road - and guess what, vehicals are owned by the rich.

    There is no consideration for kids and elderly who form the largest share of pedestrians. This is the worst form of discrimination by a Government. What about the rights of those who wants to walk...

  7. and here again ahahahaha, are you not relising owhat the goverment doing with you? taking money again!!! heeee wake people!!
    Think about it, in a family when the vather or mother say its enough thenis enough. or not. Here maldives father, when is says something he is lookng in to the treasure finanz, asking we do have enough? then he said "carbon free" well then who agree with all that should start walking then who are mentioned in this artical are still picking up there child/ren with there motorbike, I lough ahahaha If you peole wany realy stop this it is very easy! ask yourself do I need the vehical? So the Goverment want more $$$$ and again wake up!!!

  8. I support the scheme in general. However, I feel the bus and taxi fare should be reduced to encourage use of the public transport system. At the moment having a motorcycle is cheaper and more convenient!

  9. I don't mind making it more difficult to own a vehicle so long as an alternative mode of transportation is installed. The new bus service must be frequent, reliable and most importantly civilized and safe. If people use bad language and the drivers are not kind etc etc... people should not be expected to use such services and therefore allow easy ownership of private vehicles... So first get a decent bus service going...

  10. As Alibe has pointed out, the intention seems to be (and this is hard to objectively assess) to increase State revenue by unorthodox and irresponsible methods.

    Present cultural attitudes and realities make vehicle ownership and important status symbol. A status symbol that even the extremely poor cannot go without. As owning a vehicle is vital to finding a mate and thus fathering a family for the majority of the male population in Male', the average male will not (some might say cannot) go without owning/driving a motorbike.

    Taxing vehicle ownership will only;
    - Create a new revenue stream for the State (albeit irresponsibly).
    - Criminalize a behavior so common that everyone and their grandma would have a rap sheet by 2016.
    - Provide the current administration with talking points for their international climate change campaign (which sadly is not locally popular or popularized).
    - Further stratify Maldivian society and increase income gaps between the rich and poor.
    - Increase the possibility of opening parallel markets and create a new avenue for corruption among the rank and file in state service.

    Sorry to seem so negative but this idea is beyond idiotic if enforced in the current form.

  11. Then only the rich and powerful will get to import cars etc. By the way we thought the new govt. will be free from corruption but this is going on like daylight robbery. Its always the same people whatever govt comes they make sure they create safe haven for them. Well! we the ordinary are still waiting for all these good for nothing people be cast away from the scene forever.

  12. There seems to be confusion about imports and economics. I feel that more care needs to be given to the technology and then let the free market take over. Maybe the problem is more than cost and material- it might be technology, performance and warranties.

  13. Possession of more than one vehicle does not mean they all are been driven on the road at the same time. why dont Adhil or who ever is responsible come with a better idea this. Male is not the only place to live. why not develope other islands and make it so good that people would not deny to move there. this will limit the congestion. People with power will always think of ways to take our liberty rather than given us a better options.

  14. I am all for mega projects.

    The right infrastructure projects will contribute to the economic growth, diversification.

    - Centralized power plant for the greater Male region, from renewable sources.
    - A bridge roadway along with a light rail line from Gulhifalhu, Villingli, Hulhumale.
    - A centralized port
    - Waste management systems

    Create disincentives to live in Male, for a certain period of time, higher toll charges, taxes for residents of Male etc.

    Create incentives for property developers, and foreign parties who extend credit to Maldivians who can afford housing.

    Allow market forces to do the rest.

    The housing shortage is what is holding Maldivians back from upward socio-economic mobility. It is certainly not the lack of work or unwillingness to work that is holding us back. People will work really hard, if becomes reality that they can comfortably pay for their own house, rather than pay a landlord 80% of their income all their lives.

    Now for the tricky thing called good governance and of course, a ton of money....

  15. About freaking time!!!
    Every Mohamed , Ahamed and Ali can bring a vehicle in to the Island regardless whether they can really afford it or not.
    I want to be on a board where I get to say to people, No man you still live at home with you mother and a wife you hardly provide for, got no job and show no signs of maturity so No your application to get a vehicle is "rejected" ..Also your request to get married to a second wife and breed some brats are rejected too on the grounds that you just can't afford it!
    So if they want a vehicle bad enough or a 2nd or 3rd wife they can very well get a 2nd or 3 job and show the board he wants it bad enough and is showing positive progress!


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