Guam slowly improves its public transit infrastructure
Although promised innovations to the public transit infrastructure in Guam have been rather inconsistent, it appears that the government is again making strides towards the commitments outlined in the 2030 Guam Transportation Program (GTP). In November of 2017, real progress in fixing public transit on the island seemed dubious. At the time, there was one bus and two vans serving the island’s six fixed public transit routes, with the remainder of the island’s transit vehicles in a state of disrepair due to the lack of a maintenance contract to upkeep them. By November of 2019, the transit authority announced that 2020 would see big changes to public transport infrastructure: the addition of ten busses to the fleet, an influx of new drivers, and perhaps most notably, extended service to the southern regions of the island frequently underserved by the public transit system. Extended service to the north of the island was also discussed. These extended routes would be indispensable to the many who find themselves currently unable to make it to the center of the Island. Even as the current state of the Guam public transit system constitutes a major improvement from the grim state of affairs in 2017, it is far from the highly efficient system envisioned in GTP 2030. There is only one vehicle per each of the six bus routes — meaning a missed bus can put one behind several hours. The lack of signage at bus stops indicating bus timetables is also an ongoing problem on the island. The transit authority hopes to rectify both issues, though they have not yet announced a specific timeline for improvements. One innovation to the system was implemented with the new year: the Guam government and public works have taken ownership of the paratransit service, promising a more efficient and reliable service to those requiring special assistance in their use of transit services. The number of individuals who utilize the paratransit service is roughly 150 a day, according to interim Executive Manager Cel Babuata. Whether the transit system will continue to undergo positive developments remains to be seen. In April of 2017, similar issues were identified, and similar solutions were proposed. Guamanians will not be impressed by plans, but by results. Nonetheless, the progress in 2019, consisting of an increase in both vehicles and operators, suggests that there is reason enough to be hopeful.