Its infrastructure ranked world last 16
According to the International Trade Center, The latest WEF Global Competitiveness Report ranked the quality of the overall infrastructure of Madagascar 132nd out of 148 countries. Madagascar’s overall poor infrastructure is negatively affecting its economic growth and development opportunities.
For example, the density of paved roads is estimated at 10 km in every 1,000 sq. km against 100 km in every 1,000 sq. km Mauritius. Unfair business practices can be seen among transport companies that have led to increased transport costs.
Public transportation is old
Large minibusses called taxi-be meander around Antananarivo and the outlying suburbs. This is mainly found in the capital. Basically a “taxi” van following established routes. You pay a fixed price no matter where you hop on or off. The standard fare is Ar400.
The minibusses are usually in a bad, rusty condition. An assistant is always standing on the rear edge to open and close the door for passengers using the rope. With him, you pay for the ride as soon as you get in.
They are of limited use to travelers because of the difficulty to work out a) the route and b) where bus stops are and c) always full and crowded.
However, If you do take a taxi-be for a straightforward journey (to Ivato or Ambohimanga for instance), be very careful with your belongings as pickpockets are a real problem.
Automated Fare Collection can help
Madagascar has a GDP per capita USD 432 in 2018, there is a high demand for public transportation especially in Antananarivo with 1.3 million population.
This is a typical problem for under-developing countries, with no proper management, and system for public transportation, especially for fare collection. Fake money, fraud from drivers, conductors, or management will lead to the financial problems of bus companies. Without sufficient income, buses are mostly old and lack of maintenance.
Learning from places with the AFC system, an automated fare collection (AFC) system will definitely improve the financial situation of most bus companies.
However, most of the automated fare collection systems are expensive. How Antananarivo can do it without financial backup? An adequate and low-cost solution with an innovative financing model may be the answer.
The writer is a frequency traveler. For detail about AFC system, please visit autofare.net.