Sustainability of Informal Shuttle Transport in the City of Harare

Shakerod Munuhwa, Tendai Silvaziso Mandere, Ephraim Govere, King Christopher Muchenje


This study sought to investigate the sustainability of informal shuttle transport in the city of Harare. Traditionally, the provision of public transport is considered to be government's responsibility. Due to lack of economic growth, rapid rise in urban population, and declining standards of living, government-provided public transport is often inadequate; it is the privately operated public transport modes that cater to the mobility needs of the population. Informal shuttle transport refers to small illegal vehicles that play part of taxes ferrying passengers within the city. These small vehicles do not follow most road traffic regulations but are always there when city people need transport and are a faster mode of urban transport. This informal shuttle passenger transport sector, however, is not sufficiently acknowledged due to a number of reasons including lack of proper passenger transport regulation, lack of road safety, highly polluting and a cause of traffic congestion. This paper unpacks challenges posed with informal public transport particularly those providing shuttle services within the central business district (CBD) of Harare. The paper then examines and recommends various strategies that can make such operators contribute to achieving sustainable urban transport system. Data was collected through unstructured interviews from key stakeholders in both private and public sector basically examining the relationship between the increase in informal shuttle transport and transport sustainability. Stakeholders agreed on the need to improve transport in Harare and proffered solutions which included mass transit, crafting of a policy framework to formalise informal shuttle transport operators, need for infrastructure improvements, institutional capacity and good governance among others.

Key words: informal shuttle transport, congestion, sustainability, central business district, Harare, economic growth

DOI: 10.7176/JESD/11-8-14

Publication date: April 30th 2020


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