CNMI announces plans to expand public transportation system
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Saipan — The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority announced the rebranding of the islands' public transportation with "a fresh new look," "new name" and plans to expand its service by adding new bus routes.
"We are thrilled to unveil Transit CNMI," said Alfreda Camacho Maratita, the governor's special assistant for public transportation. "Our upcoming initiatives, including new bus routes and revamped social media platforms, will redefine public transportation in the Commonwealth."
COTA said the rebranding is part of its mission to provide the community with "a dependable, reliable, safe and cost-effective public transit system in order to reduce energy consumption, strengthen cultural values, and contribute economic development for the residents of the Commonwealth."
"By focusing on providing accessible, sustainable, and innovative public transportation options, Transit CNMI aims to generate excitement and positive attention within the community," COTA said.
Acting Gov. David M. Apatang said the renewed focus on public transportation is part of the administration’s "long-term plan to revitalize the economy by empowering residents to affordably access employment opportunities."
“I commend the efforts of the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority in the introduction of Transit CNMI. This rebranding initiative signifies our commitment to progressive and accessible public transportation,” Apatang said.
“By embracing innovation and community engagement, Transit CNMI embodies our shared vision for a more connected, eco-conscious CNMI. I encourage our residents to actively participate in this transformative journey, making use of the enhanced services that Transit CNMI will bring to our islands."
In the coming weeks, Transit CNMI will include new bus routes designed to serve the community's evolving needs, officials said.
"Transit CNMI will reinvent COTA’s social media platforms to enhance communication and engagement with passengers," COTA said. "These upcoming changes represent Transit CNMI’s commitment to continuous improvement and ensuring that public transportation remains a vital and accessible resource for all."
Earlier this year, COITA announced that it has received $8.4 million from the U.S. Congress to enhance the CNMI’s public transportation system through the construction of new bus transfer stations, a covered bus parking facility, and the addition of 187 bus stop shelters on Saipan’s fixed-route system.
The source of these funds is from the U.S. Congress’ appropriation through the Community Project Funding (CPF) program, also known as the Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
The funds were earmarked for the following:
$900,000.00 for the Construction of Bus Transfer Stations at the Northern Marianas College (NMC), Garapan, and Kagman. COTA is working toward the re-launch of the fixed route service throughout the island of Saipan. These stations will allow for additional accessible transfer points for interested riders who need to get around the island using public transportation.
$3,000,000.00 for Covered Bus Parking Facility. COTA intends to construct a solar panel-covered bus parking facility to ensure the safety and security of the transit fleet such as protection in the event of a natural disaster and to reduce utility costs for the overall transit facility.
$4,500,000.00 for the Supply & Installation of 187 Bus Stop Shelters on the Saipan Public Transit Fixed Route. COTA intends to install pre-fabricated and typhoon-proof bus stop shelters along the island of Saipan to better safeguard passengers from the extreme heat, wind, and/or rain.