Lepep Should Shift From TINA to TAMBO

TAMBO stands for There Are Much Better Options. It's an acronym I coined back in 2007 when Dr. TINAnen was busy breaking the economy with his flat tax. It essentially demonstrated that there were more useful things to do than to turn back the clock of social progress between never-ending stories of gato-pima and savat leponz. Like considering several good options and picking the best. Feasible if you're not endowed with a reverse Midas touch.

Spreadsheet Nirvana
The decision of going ahead with the Lepep tram is afflicted with the same There Is No Alternative disease and doesn't address the No. 1 problem of our transportation policy: the growth of private cars has been left unchecked for way too long. On April 1, Georges Chung was heard saying that there were no alternatives to the tram. Isn't that a jurassic comment? And a couple of days ago he seemed to be in a state of total bliss while standing in front of a spreadsheet of the project – we were also told that half-a-dozen accountants did not take up his challenge of finding faults in it – that has been presented literally as having no risk. But he doesn't want to share it with the media.

Getting Our Facts Right
We don't need the tram to curb the growth of our car pool. Policy will take care of that. Right away. Increasing the rate on car loans substantially, making cars more expensive, implementing congestion pricing, penalising people who are alone in their cars on certain road strips and freezing duty-free privileges are things we can mix together to prevent a dire prediction of very heavy road-users: dan de an nepli pu kav kondir. 

It's true that the city of Edinburgh has a tram. But it is equally true that it has a bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The BRT started in 2004 while the tram appeared only in 2014. A decade later. Singapore has both a mass rapid transit (MRT) system and a LRT. Which one do you think came first? The MRT of course. It was rolled out in 1987 – on November 7 so don't forget to send a cake – while the LRT was operational only in 1999. The MRT is the backbone of the Tiger's transport infrastructure and an important source of her competitiveness. Both cities have a strong bus system.

Applying TAMBO
Lepep seems to be talking through its hat again. It should sit back and consider a lot more options. But not before realising that our transportation policy is too primitive. Once it has done that Georges should publish the spreadsheet for the BRT and tell us what is the incremental benefit of having the LRT. There probably isn't. And the BRT can be implemented in a couple of days and it will improve as soon as the articulated buses start arriving in Mauritius. For the LRT it's going to take two years of chaos. It's another stupid political move. Does an already very unpopular Lepep want to give voters plenty new reasons to hate it? Probably not especially that Collendavelloo is already doing a fine job with his intention of colonising the CWA – hopefully he will be sacked by this weekend or the next.  

Mauritius cannot sit on her hands for another two years. This will sink the island further. We should immediately dedicate one of the lanes on our motorway in the Curepipe-Port-Louis corridor to buses while using a lot more policy tools to get the outcomes that make sense.

So just you know the population of Singapore was 2.8 million in 1987 when its MRT began its operations with 5 stations over 6 kilometres. We could start with a heavy rail project (MRT) with two stations like one in QB and another one in Port-Louis in a few years. Only if that still makes sense after thoughtfully sketching some national plans for the next 100-200 years and seriously upgrading our policies.