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Mayor Bernard Wagner and the Belize City Council share eMobility plans for 2023!

HighlightsMayor Bernard Wagner and the Belize City Council share eMobility plans for 2023!

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 2, 2023

Mayor Bernard Wagner and the Belize City Council have kicked off 2023 by completing the Hurricane Lisa clean-up, boosting the economy with their recent Downtown Super Sale, and continuing to improve the streets of the city with the Holy Emmanuel Street and St. Thomas Street projects that are currently underway. During a recent interview with Mayor Wagner, Amandala was given an opportunity to look at the future of Belize City through the eyes of the mayor. In addition to a robust infrastructure improvement plan, “Low Carbon Transportation” is a major part of Mayor Wagner’s future focus for 2023, and we got a glimpse of how this will be implemented as part of the city’s upliftment plans.

The council’s goal is to improve transportation in the city by reducing noise and air pollution, and traffic congestion that affects commuters and pedestrians. These conversations have centered on an initiative the Government of Belize has approved that will be introducing electric vehicles, buses to be precise, onto the streets of Belize City. The European Union-(EU) funded, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-administered, and Belize City Council-managed project seeks to place two electric buses on the streets of the city to collect data and verify if, and how, Belize would benefit from the use of electric buses.

This project is one of the two eMobility projects to be conducted, one focused on the city’s needs and the other to focus on the highway commuters’. The municipal pilot project is in line with the desire of the Belize City Council to improve the lives of the residents of Belize City in several ways. According to the council, electric buses are quieter than regular diesel or gas/internal combustion engine buses, so a shift to such buses would reduce the noise pollution from those types of vehicles in the city. Electric vehicles are also known for their clean operation, as they do not emit any exhaust fumes into the air we breathe. “These buses will improve the quality of life and services currently being offered in Belize City,” said Mayor Wagner.

These new buses will come with an application that can be installed on Apple or Android phones to track the bus as it travels. This will allow riders to better plan when and where they want to board the bus. Other features of the electric buses include the ability to charge passengers’ phones while they are being driven to their destinations, air conditioning and cashless payments to improve safety and reduce the time spent making payments or waiting for one’s change. The council hopes that these buses will bring modern amenities that will help improve passenger comfort, particularly for the differently abled, as wheelchair accessibility will be available.

The Mayor said that the Belize City Council’s eMobility Project is geared toward making the lives of all the people living, working, and visiting Belize City better by improving the quality of public transportation. Public transportation in Belize City was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Quarantines, fear of sharing public spaces and the lingering high cost of fuel, have made it challenging for the bus operators of Belize City. In the Mayor’s continued mantra of “No one left behind”, he stated that he has been in contact with the project coordinators to ensure the city bus operators are included in the transition to low-carbon transportation. The incorporation of the municipal bus operators will begin with them collecting and sharing data from their operations with the project. It will entail analyzing their routes in order to improve the streets and bus stops and finding ways to assist in the improvement of their routes into stronger and more accessible routes for the people.

Mayor Wagner concluded our interview by sharing, “We look forward to becoming a transforming force for mobility in Belize City and are aiming to better the day-to-day lives of our residents. We will show that we can have less noise pollution on our streets, cleaner air in our city and greater comfort in our daily commutes. In addition, with this project we are encouraging the development of new jobs in the city, and we look forward to offering financial inclusion to those interested in growing with the needs and wants of our city.”

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