|Uganda aims to implement a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Kampala, the East African countryâ€™s capital, says Uganda National Roads Authority transport economist Jeremy Bassy Aguma.
The bus system will link the capital with Entebbe International Airport.
Aguma says the system is â€¨required as Kampala has witnessed increased traffic as well as parking demand in the bustling central business district.
The current public transport system, which makes use of mini-â€¨bus taxis, also adds some complexity as rates and timetables are not fixed, service levels are low and road safety is compromised, says Aguma.
He says the system which is now being looked at for implementation will see purpose-built buses use dedicated lanes, stopping at specially designed stations every 500 m, with each bus replacing four to five minibus taxis.
Aguma notes that a BRT system has been chosen as a solution to the capitalâ€™s congestion headaches as it is the cheapest mass transit system compared to, for example, rail.
He says government gave the go-ahead for the system in January, with the $267 000 pre-feasibility study running until September.
This will be followed by a â€¨detailed design period up to 2010, construction from 2011 to 2013, and the procurement of buses from 2012 to 2013.
â€œThe BRT system should be â€¨operational in 2014,â€ says Aguma.
â€œWeâ€™re currently seeking funding from the World Bank.â€
Aguma says funding constraints are some of the projectâ€™s biggest challenges, with current estimates at between $2-million and $4-million a kilometre.
â€œWe are thinking of developing an initial 20-km network.â€
Another challenge in developing the system is the resistance from existing public transport operators, such as taxi owners, much as has been the case in South Africa, where the disgruntled taxi industry has managed to delay the implementation programme of a BRT system in Johannesburg, for example.
The Uganda BRT system will follow in the footsteps of similar systems being planned in â€¨Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal and Nigeria.