Of urban tollgates, urban public transport provision

EDITOR— Urban transport plays an integral role in the economic development of cities. In any urban set up, transport enables people to go to their places of work.

In most cities in the developing world e.g. Cairo, Nairobi, Windhoek and Lagos, the provision of an efficient and reliable urban public transport system remains a big challenge to urban transport planners.
To this end, Harare is no exception.

The fast rate of urbanisation in Harare is posing serious challenges to the city fathers on the provision of basics like supply of potable water and adequate transport facilities to residents.

Growth in terms of human  and vehicle population in Harare is not matching the available or  rate of new infrastructure provision.

Traffic congestion is now a major problem to city  planners during peak and off peak periods.

Driving along major roads (for example Seke Road, Samora Machel  Avenue from Warren Park roundabout, Mutare Road from Mabvuku turn off among others) which feed into Harare Central Business District in the morning and in the evening is now a nightmare.

Traffic management techniques, policies and measures have to be put in place to reduce congestion challenges. Harare must retain  its Sunshine City status in southern Africa.

Congestion also has a range of indirect impacts including environmental air pollution, stress and safety as well as impacts on non-vehicular road space users such as the users of sidewalks and road frontage properties.

Traffic congestion can also cause frustration to drivers leading to road rage and flouting of traffic rules and road accidents.

In summary, congestion is a non-productive cost in terms of fuel and time lost.

Urban toll gates are being considered by the Transport ministry as a tool to curb congestion in cities.

But is this a practical solution to our situation? I feel more practical solutions can be explored.

The situation in most bus termini in Harare Central Business District is chaotic.

Most termini like the Copacabana, Market Square, Fourth Street and the one near Harare Central Police Station are highly congested by commuters and commuter omnibuses.

The public passenger vehicles at these ranks  are far surpassing the rank holding capacity.

Crime is increasing as pick-pockets are also taking advantage of the chaos prevailing.

The dropping and picking of commuters  at undesignated points within the CBD is disturbing and undesirable.

Municipal police and the Zimbabwe Republic Police are trying to bring  normalcy by implementing city by laws, but to no avail.

Mugwazeni, Mugo‚ Sithole

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