An assessment of stage bus transit operations in the greater Kampala, Uganda
Kiggundu, Amin T.
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Stage buses play an important and dominant role in transporting people in large cities across the globe. Buses carry more passengers than the private cars, reduce carbon emissions, alleviate traffic jam and foster urban productivity as well as connectivity. Bus operations in the large cities represent a key feature of the green mobility movement as well as smart city development. This paper aims to assess and explicate stage bus transit operations in the Greater Kampala in the view of the region’s recent experience. Findings show that bus operation and performance in the Greater Kampala has been adversely affected by the wicked urban management problems such as inadequate funding, incessant traffic jam, urban sprawl, increased use of private cars, lack of public transport support infrastructure and facilities such as bus lanes and bus terminals, lack of enough experienced transport and logistics professionals as well as the continued dominance of para-transit systems such as minibus taxis (Mataus) and commercial motorcycle taxis (Boda Bodas). It also indicated that journeys to work (commuting) constitute a large proportion (over 61 percent) of trips made by buses in the Greater Kampala region. This implies that deliberate efforts must be made by the bus operators and the city authorities to popularise bus transport among those travelling to participate in other activities such as shopping, schooling and recreation. To improve the performance of the bus transit systems, it is recommended that the city authorities and bus operators adopt innovative strategies such as the diversification of the transit revenue sources to generate enough investable funds, promotion of public-private partnerships (PPPs), provision of transit support infrastructure, promotion of passenger information systems (PIS) to aid travel decision making among passengers, introduce policies to integrate land use with transport planning as well as the introduction of transport demand management (TDM) measures. Such strategies have also been adopted in various transit-dependent cities across the globe such as Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bogota, Curitiba, Bangkok and Manila.