Private buses at Namayiba bus terminal in Kampala.
The World Bank, which is expected to provide funding for the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transport-BRT in Kampala wants government to have an agency in charge of mass public transport.
Speaking at the Public Transport symposium organized by the School of Public Health at Hotel Africana, Ivan Mwondha a senior Transport Specialist from the World Bank said that since 2012, they have been in talks with the government to implement the Rapid Bus Transport but the process has delayed because there is no authority that deals with Public Transport.
Mwondha says the World Bank requires the government to have a special authority for public transport and in the event that no new Agencies can be created, the minister in charge of Transport passes a statutory instrument directing a particular agency to be in charge of the Public Transport.
Mwondha says that agencies like Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA cannot be reconsidered as the agency to run public transport because it lacks jurisdiction in other parts of the country outside Kampala where the system can be rolled out later.
The world bank has fronted Rapid Bus Transport systems in different cities in Africa including Lagos where there is also a specific authority managing that Sector. This form of transport which is also a form of mass transport is seen as a key intervention to the traffic congestion in Kampala and road accidents.
Mwondha says that Uganda loses over 180 million dollars annually due to traffic jam and other road-related delays and expenses. Mwondha says the World Bank supported Lagos with only 100 million US dollars to be able to develop their Rapid Bus Transport and this has made a great change in their city.
Mwondha says that it is important for the government to plan for people rather than cars when it makes plans for roads. He says that the first person to be thought about while constructing a road should be those who uses non-motorized transport like cycling and walking, then Mass Transport like Public Buses and rail and lastly the people who use private vehicles.
Eng. Andrew Serunjoji, the KCCA Roads supervisor says that the authority is working closely with the cabinet to see that an instrument is issued and the Bus Rapid Transport-BRT takes shape. He, however, acknowledges that there is still some work that requires to be done especially on the infrastructure to ensure there are bus stops and that the stakeholders in the transport sector are well coordinated and Organised to fit into the system.
Eng Serunjoji also noted that KCCA has a detailed Non-motorised transport-NMT which it shall Implement on top of the current NMT corridor which stretches from Entebbe Road through Luwum Street to Namirembe Road. The expansion which shall cover market Street and Burton street among others is intended to reduce traffic downtown in Kampala and promote walking and cycling as forms of transport.
On her part, Josephine Apajo a monitoring and evaluation specialist from the Equal Opportunities Commission urged planners of Public Transport to ensure that it is all-inclusive, serving people of all ages and with different physical abilities.