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Bus rapid transit implementation with the inclusion of incumbent paratransit operators in African cities: lessons from Accra

Asimeng, Emmanuel Theodore

Inst. Stadt- und Regionalplanung

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is considered the cheapest and fastest to implement mass transportation system compared to rail and tram. However, the implementation of BRT becomes complicated where there are incumbent paratransit service providers. In African cities, it has become mandatory to include these operators because they are the most extensive public transport service providers, employ many people, and make governments unpopular when excluded. In Accra, the government sought to implement BRT with the inclusion of incumbent paratransit operators but could only implement a conventional bus service. This article analyses the approach adopted to examine the reasons behind the inability to execute the planned BRT and draw lessons from the Ghana experience. This article adopted informal transportation and BRT characteristics based on the African experience to analyse the incorporation of incumbent paratransit operators in Ghana. The findings show the challenges the implementing agency encountered, resulting in a shift from BRT to a conventional bus. The underlying reason for the difficulty is the depth of change required by both paratransit operators and government institutions. Given the depth of change for capital investment, capacity, and governance reforms required, the paper recommends a more gradual BRT implementation approach in African cities.