Inefficient allocation of paratransit service terminals and routes in Ghana: The role of driver unions and paratransit operators
Author / Authors:
Journal of Transport Geography, Volume 111, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2023.103643.
Access to public transport is widely recognized as a welfare and livelihood issue. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), public transport is predominately paratransit which holds the largest modal share. Paratransit services are often accessed through their terminals and service routes, critical elements which directly distribute the service to populations. However, the allocation of paratransit terminals and routes is rarely equitable in SSA, where they are often erratic, dedicated to profitable routes, and vehicles not available on some routes and at certain times of the day (e.g. night time). Consequently, this study evaluates the allocation of paratransit terminals and routes, their access to populations, and overall coverage in the Oforikrom Municipality of Ghana. This was achieved by compiling General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS)-like data, conducting a nearest neighbor analysis and a service area estimation, and evaluating the allocation of paratransit service routes. The findings show that paratransit allocation is highly inefficient being associated with fragmented routes and poor connectivity, where the travel distance to paratransit service ranges from 1 to 2800 m, and existing routes can be reduced considerably by 53%. A close matching with an R-square of 0.977 was found between the proportion of the population served by paratransit and the coverage of the land area where they live. Economic status based on the relative wealth index was found to be moderately related to the travel distance to paratransit services, the population served, and the land area covered. While paratransit operators and driver unions have their roles, the inefficient configuration of terminals and routes is a direct outcome of the existing systemic structural arrangement with paratransit operators mostly built on underlying political economy, social injustice, labor exploitation, and lack of investment. It is recommended that enhanced paratransit allocation be co-formulated, co-developed, and co-enforced by all stakeholders, especially local governments, driver unions, paratransit operators, passengers, and pedestrians.
- Journal Article