The major aim of this study was to assess the overall situation of public transport services in Oman, and to suggest some strategies and tactics to ensure a successful transportation system. The study followed a multi-faceted research approach involving the key stakeholders whose diverse opinions were taken into account in the development of an effective public transport system in Oman. This study was conducted in four phases which included (i) a review of public transport (ii) a survey of 2000 respondents, (iii) individual interviews, and (iv) discussions with the key officials from the regulating authorities, transport operators, and business sector. A mixed method approach was used in the analyses. The information obtained from the four phases was analyzed using the PESTEL framework to arrive at the conclusions and recommendations. Whilst a wide range of factors was examined in the research, this paper specifically reports the findings pertaining to the strategic actions, derived from the PESTEL framework. The study finds that people have little experience of using public transport in Oman. The introduction of a public transport system has taken an unusually long time and there is a growing need for public transport in Oman to stimulate economic development, increase road safety, and to combat traffic congestion and environmental problems. The government of Oman needs to put more effort into looking at a range of policy issues related to public transport such as public-private partnership, regulation of different modes of transport, benchmarking the best practices, and economic policies such as diversification and taxation. The study recommends the development of well-integrated modes of public transport with well thought out strategies of urban planning, and the trade-offs between transport, land use, and environmental aspects.
Keywords: public transport; public perception; transport policy; strategic analysis; Oman