Position Papers
H Schalekamp, D Mfinanga, P Wilkinson, and R Behrens
African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport (ACET) (South Africa)
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley, gTKP
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility
Africa (AFR)

An international review of paratransit regulation and integration experiences

Paratransit operations are an essential part of passenger public transportation systems in African cities. These entrepreneurial services deliver highly demand-responsive, affordable transport in settings not conducive to scheduled or ‘formal’ public transport operations. They also present problems in the form of ruinous and violent competition between operators for higher volume routes, ‘cream skimming’, and aggressive driver behaviour. As with the Integrated Rapid Transit system in Cape Town and the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit project, public authorities across a range of international contexts have responded to these problems by planning integrated public transport networks within which paratransit operators are given the opportunity to become contracted service providers alongside existing rail and bus companies. Despite some well-publicised successes in integrating paratransit operators into ‘formal’ public transport systems, the available evidence suggests that processes of paratransit integration are typically protracted and at times difficult to sustain. Even in relatively successful cases, many ‘informal’ operators have not been included in these processes, and their services have remained in parallel to the improved
‘formal’ networks. Managing the interface between the resulting ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ systems has often proved a complex and difficult task. This paper provides a review of selected international cases where interventions were made to increase paratransit regulation or incorporate the sector in formal operations. The paper illustrates the planned interventions in Cape Town and Dar es Salaam, provides an overview of the interventions and interaction with paratransit and the impacts thereof on competition, service provision and institutional arrangements in the selected case cities, and concludes by drawing lessons on the scale, timeframe and operational and institutional contexts of paratransit integration processes in Cape Town and Dar es Salaam.