QuestionsTransportation-FlightsQuestion about public transportation and history
Stirnlappenbasilisk asked 8 months ago

Hello, my girlfriend is mauritian and we just came back from a two week vacation, visiting her family. Mauritius is truly a beautiful place and didn't want to leave. Only one thing had me wondering: For such a small country, the infrastructure is very car-centred. We used the new tram to get to Port Louis and I was wondering why there isn't more of that. Later, we visited the maritime museum in Mahebourg and there we learnt that about 100 years ago Mauritius had a sophisticated, island wide network of rails and neat double decker trams. My gf was pretty shocked, she didn't know about this at all, and nobody could explain to us why this system was abolished. Could you guys shine some light on that?

NeKapS9 answered 8 months ago

Trains were stopped due to economic viability back then. Things evolved but not in the right sense. If the highway would have been circling the island, we would have had branching roads to facilitate movement to cities and villages. The fact we have it linear generates a lot of traffic in my opinion. Public transport is very limited and unreliable. Company owned buses are a bit more on time compared to the individually own busses. If you stay in X village and finish work at 21h, there is no means to return. If you need to urgently move from x to y, cars will take you less time even with traffic compared to public transport that may even take half a day for a car travelling time of 45 min.

pavit answered 8 months ago

Afaik the old British railway system was dismantled and sold off for two reasons:

1. Advent of busses and trucks for public transportation made trains uneconomical to sustain
2. A fear that post independence Mauritius the economy would plummet and thus British train company decided to call quits…

Even now the metro express project is heavily subsidised and doesn’t make any economic sense if it were a private business…

streamer3222 answered 8 months ago

My view is the train system was abolished in favour of the then-new bus system. Buses could be powered more effectively and safely with fuel instead of charcoal. And buses were more plentiful and could reach more precise places with more people.

Of course, traffic wasn’t an issue back then, which now has spurred the re-introduction of rails. Now even today the Metro isn’t perfect—it doesn’t go to many places and is out of reach for most rural folks. It doesn’t even reach your destination faster. The only advantages I see is its quieter (compared to the loud rumbling of bus engines), more spacious and more predictable (via its internet location).

Keep in mind trains of olde had none of these advantages. Noisy, tight and unpredictable as well. Those trains weren’t like the Metro. They were much smaller. There are some train relics in Ébène and also one that still works in Domaine les Pailles, though I’m not sure if those were the trains used of if Domaine les Pailles’ is just a toy train.

MrPekko answered 8 months ago

The “Metro Léger” as we know it, isn’t and wasn’t part of our economic development plan. We only have it right now because we took massive loans from India, and we are currently buried in debt. Even the current government stated (before they were elected) it was a project that will be heavily overburden us in debt. Well, look where we are now, and who started the Metro Léger project.

**Who is paying for it?**
The population, of course. Even those who doesn’t use it or do no have daily access to it are paying for it.

**Why isn’t it being expanded around the island?**
Current city and village plan are interfering with it and if they are to expand it, lots of people will have to be relocated, like some were forcefully relocated despite lots of legal attempts. Expanding it will require a lot more resources and funding.

**Why have our old railway system stopped?**
I’m unsure as I wasn’t born yet but as per what Wikipedia stats, it was due to unprofitability due to increasing road networks around the island after WWII.

​

I’m unsure if you can still those old railways. I know for sure we can still see a few railway bridges around Port Louis, some rails around Bras D’Eau forest and Mapou train station if its still there.

RYajnesh answered 8 months ago

The Mauritian rail network was dismantled more many reasons
1. To be sent to newly independent Israel
2. Mauritius didn’t need such a network anymore as the Suez Canal opened and WW2 endes
3. The British Empire did not have the resources anymore to maintain such a system in a remote place like Mauritius.

The Metro Express has started operations in 2019 and the pandemic slowed down its development and also political issues. Mauritius is car centered as in the 90s Mauritius needed to develop fast to accommodate for a boom in tourism, so a car centered model was cheaper and faster.

Mauritian like the freedom of movement of a car and government policies and transport system are being design to integrate with this mindset with urban terminals and “huds” with various mass transport and a car park.

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