ABSTRACT

Public transport systems in contemporary Sub-Saharan African cities are heavily reliant upon paratransit services. These services are defined as informal transportation which operates between the public and individual private spheres.  In Africa paratransit is characterized by low quality of vehicles and chaotic management but it also provides cheap, accessible and flexible transport solutions for the urban poor. It is typically poorly regulated and operates as a set of informal businesses. A common result of weak public sector regulation and a fare strategy in which owners claim a fixed daily revenue target and drivers who keep the variable balance as income, is destructive competition and poor quality of service. There is an incontrovertible case for improving the quality, reliability and coverage of public transport systems, and some city governments have attempted to do so by initiating reform projects that envisage the phased replacement of paratransit operations with formalised bus rapid transit systems.

In this book the authors argue that there are, however, path dependencies and constraints that limit the possible extent of public transport system reform. Paratransit operations also have some inherent advantages with respect to demand responsiveness and service innovation. Attempts to eradicate paratransit may be neither pragmatic nor strategic. Two future scenarios are likely: hybrid systems comprised of both paratransit and formally planned modes; and systems improved by upgrades and strengthened regulation of existing paratransit services. The business strategies and aspirations of incumbent paratransit operators in three case cities – Cape Town, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi – are discussed, as well as their attitudes towards emerging public transport reform projects. International experiences of hybrid system regulation and paratransit business development are reviewed in order to explore policy options. The authors contend that policies recognising paratransit operators, and seeking contextually appropriate complementarity with formalised planned services, will produce greater benefits than policies ignoring their continued existence.

chapter 1|25 pages

An introduction to paratransit in Sub-Saharan African cities

ByROGER BEHRENS, DOROTHY MCCORMICK, DAVID MFINANGA

chapter 2|33 pages

The state of public transport systems in three Sub-Saharan African cities

ByERIC BRUUN, ROMANO DEL MISTRO, YOLANDI VENTER AND DAVID MFINANGA

chapter 3|20 pages

The nature of paratransit operations

ByDOROTHY MCCORMICK, HERRIE SCHALEKAMP, DAVID MFINANGA

chapter 4|21 pages

Politics, policy and paratransit: a view from Nairobi

ByJACQUELINE KLOPP, WINNIE MITULLAH

chapter 5|25 pages

Approaches to paratransit reform

ByHERRIE SCHALEKAMP, AARON GOLUB, ROGER BEHRENS

chapter 6|30 pages

Matatu business strategies in Nairobi

ByDOROTHY MCCORMICK, WINNIE MITULLAH, PRESTON CHITERE, RISPER

chapter 7|19 pages

Public transport and daladala service improvement prospects in Dar es Salaam

ByDar es Salaam DAVID MFINANGA AND ERICK MADINDA

chapter 8|25 pages

Minibus-taxi operator reforms, engagement and attitudes in Cape Town

ByCape Town HERRIE SCHALEKAMP AND NICO MCLACHLAN

chapter 9|22 pages

Barriers to comprehensive paratransit replacement

ByROGER BEHRENS AND PABLO SALAZAR FERRO

chapter 10|23 pages

International case studies of hybrid public transport system regulation and complementarity

ByROGER BEHRENS, PABLO SALAZAR FERRO AND AARON GOLUB

chapter 11|28 pages

West African case studies of integrated urban transport reform

ByIAN BARRETT, BRENDAN FINN, XAVIER GODARD

chapter 12|35 pages

Strategy options for paratransit business development and service improvement

ByGAIL JENNINGS, ERIC BRUUN, RISPER ORERO, DOROTHY MCCORMICK