One part of the transport sector where Sweden is particularly strong is in the planning of public transport, a field where many developing countries run into great difficulty. Helping the participants to identify problems and develop strategies for solving them is one of the most important aims of the Sida training programme “Urban Transport”. One frequently encountered problem is lack of coordination between state, municipal and private actors, something to which one programme participant, Michael Kridiotis from Buffalo City, South Africa, has successfully turned his attention.
In Buffalo City, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, the problems are largely the same as in other urban areas of the country. Public transport consists of a more or less functional system of municipal buses in competition with a large fleet of private minibus taxis, many of them in dangerously poor condition.
Repeated attempts by the authorities to deal with the dangerous minibus taxis have failed. Ideas like car-scrapping premiums and attempts to institute timetabled services with licencing agreements have had little effect. The problem is aggravated by the fact that many of those who are injured and killed in traffic in South Africa are passengers in minibus taxis.
Michael Kridiotis, who works as general manager of transport planning and operations, began after the Sida programme at Lund University to formulate a new strategy, inspired by public transport in Sweden, where the informal public transport system will gradually become more formalised and regulated.
The basic idea is that the local authority buses will provide regular trunk services on particularly busy routes and the services offered by private actors will be procured competitively to act as feeder services to bus interchanges and train stations.
Gradually the agreements with the private actors will be put on a more formal footing as regards routes, areas served and regular stops for boarding and alighting. The agreements should be general and only specify, for example, type of vehicle, number of vehicles and siting of stops. In this way the formal and the informal systems could be complementary, instead of competing with each other. In the longer term the private actors should become fully integrated in the formal public transport system.
Michael Kridiotis’ strategy has been well received and attracted notice in the journal “Civil Engineering” (September 2006) and elsewhere. The ideas have also been picked up by another city not far away in the same province and the strategy will be implemented in collaboration.
Last modified 10 Sep 2010
For Buffalo City to be successful, it is essential to improve the public
transport system, according to the City's general manager for transport
planning and operations, Michael Kridiotis.
Read more: Better public transport "essential"
Employees in the Buffalo City Transport Planning and Operations Department yesterday proved you do not need motorised transport to get to work when they took part in the first-ever Cycle-to-Work Day. The idea was the brainchild of the department's General Manager, Michael Kridiotis (middle), following a recent visit to Sweden.