More CoW bus trips
Windhoek’s scheduled bus service is set to experience a further expansion as from Monday 17 August, as there will be a daily morning bus service operating on two lines in Katutura.
Line 1 will operate from Siyanda to Katutura Post Office and back, while Line 2 will operate from Woermann&Brock to China Town and back.
According to Move Windhoek which promotes the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan, good mass transit can make living in the city more affordable. Their recently published pre-feasibility study figures show that through a better scheduled bus service system, an average household can save up to N$700 per month.
Currently it is estimated that some 96 000 of the 322 500 people living in Windhoek walk to work. Clarence Rupingena, manager for public transport at the Windhoek Municipality, was quoted earlier this year saying that some people walk from as far as Ombili to Prosperita. Rupingena’s figures did not include those visiting friends or going shopping, but only those walking to work and to school. He said their research was done during peak morning hours.
Some people’s journey on foot starts at 04h00, just to make it to work on time at 08h00, he said. On average, low income earners spend 24% of their income for mobility needs, while 52% of them cannot afford public transport at all.
In June, Rupingena announced that a team from the municipality went to South Africa to purchase 20 more buses. The buses, which cost about N$80 million in total, were half paid for by the capital city municipality, while government donated N$40 million which it had received from Germany.
At the time, the city extended its public bus transport service by introducing a pilot project scheduled for Saturdays from the Women’s Centre in Katutura to Wernhil Park. This service started on 27 June and runs every Saturday between 10h00 and 16h00 at a regular fare of N$5. Along the route between the Women’s Centre to= Wernhil Park, the bus serves 10 intermediate stops.
Currently the municipality has 15 000 people making use of Windhoek municipal busses.
In related news, new traffic regulations have been introduced to make national roads safer for public transport users. On 28 July an amendment to road safety regulations was published in Government Gazette No 5792. In terms of these regulations all persons who transport paying passengers must be older than 25 and must also be declared medically fit by a doctor.
These include taxi drivers, bus drivers and tour-guides. It is also now compulsory that the lights of all vehicles on a trunk road, main road and district roads must be switched on even in daytime.
Further amendments stipulate that only up to six people may be transported in the back of a goods vehicle such as a bakkie of which the gross vehicle mass must be less than 3 500kg.
The load bay must be enclosed with a railing of 350mm above the surface upon which people sit and 900mm for standing passengers. Passengers thus have to sit at all times unless the back of the bakkie is enclosed with railings.