WINDHOEK -The City of Windhoek (CoW) twenty-year Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan (SUMTP) project aimed at bringing change to the transport system is said to be on track with a new fleet of buses expected to arrive during the second half of this year.
Two years ago CoW in conjunction with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Ministry of Works and Transport embarked on the SUMTP pilot project.
The pilot project was aimed at finding ways to ultimately bring change in the transport system covering areas such as Windhoek, Rehoboth and Okahandja with the idea to address challenges such as traffic congestion, cyclist and pedestrian accidents, air pollution, high cost of transportation and other economic challenges.
Joshua Amukugo, the CoW’s manager for corporate communication and customer care said after in-depth analyses it was concluded that transport congestion in the city is not necessarily a result of narrow roads, but a result of the absence of reliable public transport that culminates in more people relying on private vehicle usage as the best transportation mode.
Amukugo further said the solutions are soon to be implemented as the expansion of council services to the extended boundaries are still being formulated and are thought to be one of the ways to ease traffic from flocking in one direction, causing traffic jams.
He however gave the assurance the city will not spend money on compensating those having buildings adjacent to the roads as there will be no road expansion and they should not worry much.
“When plan implementation is executed well, there might not even be any need to expand our roads but to rather extend them,” explained Amukugo when responding to the worrisome situation of traffic congestion on the city’s roads.
As part of the findings the plan encourages the introduction of non-motorised infrastructure such as footing and cycling, and the use of public transport to get more cars off the road.
He stated that after the pilot study it was concluded that solutions such as a high level bus service be built complemented by bus-rapid transit and by a commuter rail transit system to be built at a later stage; a network with mainly fixed lines be developed; integrated feeder services through minibuses and taxis be introduced; a 24/7 transport services be introduced and maintained and all areas should be covered by the system with the provision of adequate information to passengers.
Though he however could not establish the amount of money required for the smooth implementation of the 20-year project, he said “a mixture of all viable financing options shall be considered”.