JASSIM SAIF AHMED AL SULAITI

Qatar 2020 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

With plans for a fully electric bus system and an impressive set of interconnected transportation options including metro, rail, and tram, the Ministry of Transport and Communication is shifting mobility into the next gear in Qatar.

Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti
BIOGRAPHY

Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti has held countless important posts in both the public and private sector. He has a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, a master's in military science, and a diploma from the UK's Institute of Directors. He has served as Minister of Transport and Communications since 2016. He is a board member of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and a member of Qatar's ministerial group for co-ordination and follow-up on major projects of strategic importance. He is chairman of Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani) and Hamad Port Steering Committee, along with the Qatar Digital Government Steering Committee. Previously, he served as chairman of Qatar Armed Forces Engineers Qualifying Committee.

MoTC has recently published its key strategy on private sector participation (PSP) in the transport industry. What does the involvement of the private sector entail?
The PSP guidebook was developed to provide a framework for implementing PSP projects in Qatar's transport sector. MoTC seeks to implement PSP projects where suitable to achieve efficient asset delivery and operations, thereby freeing up public sector finances, growing the local private sector, and attracting foreign investors. For the transport sector, a typical PSP project would be long term in nature, require significant investment, and have a potential for risk transfer to the private sector through a performance-based specification approach. The private sector also seeks certain assurances from the government that will make them confident about the cash flows that help in making the project viable. The government is already working to provide a clear legal framework and guidance for implementing PSP projects.

How will the Doha metro transform the mobility in the city?
Mobility is essential to all of society. It allows people to connect with places and shapes how we live our lives. A focus on people is central to mobility. Understanding how citizens and businesses make decisions and interact with transport and technology provides an opportunity to place the user at the heart of an integrated transport system. People and businesses make transport decisions as part of wider choices about accessibility, lifestyle, and connectivity. People are strongly influenced by practical factors such as the built environment, location, cost, journey times, and availability of infrastructure. The metro is playing a major role in influencing a modal shift by implemented initiatives such as Metrolink feeder services and on-demand ride-sharing services such as MetroExpress that provide easy and convenient connections to the metro network. The Doha metro is integrated with the bus network at major interchange locations, thereby facilitating seamless mobility. A friendly fare structure incorporating integrated ticketing, called Sila, will add to this seamless mobility by creating one ticket to be used across all modes of public transport and taxis. A surface journey across the entire Red line route from Al Wakrah to Lusail—which on a good traffic day would take about 45-60 minutes—can now be completed in 30 minutes in the comfort of an air-conditioned, state-of-the-art metro. The metro will be instrumental in changing travel attitudes and behaviors of citizens in Qatar. It is also linked with other light rail systems under development, such as Lusail Light Rail, Education City Tram, and Msheireb Tram system, providing commuters with options and connecting them to major hubs of education, work, and recreation in the country.

Recently you have announced that 20% of public transport in Qatar will be eco-friendly by 2022. Why is it important for Qatar to increase efficiency in transport and make it more ecological?
MoTC recently developed a detailed electric bus implementation plan (EBIP) that will provide the framework for a gradual shift to a fully electric public bus system in Qatar and the utilization of electric buses on key services during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. MoTC has engaged with stakeholder organizations including the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Kahramaa, and Mowasalat. EBIP also makes official the gradual transition of public bus and government school bus services to electric buses by 2030. Electric public transport is now a global trend that is imperative to provide environmental benefits. Qatar has a strong electricity grid with enough spare capacity to provide most of the electric bus fleet requirements. We also plan to use solar energy to provide power for the fleet. The electric bus implementation will promote Qatar as a global leader in clean energy mass transit and make it the first country in the world with a fully integrated electric public transport system.