Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon, has a population of 3.6 million. The city is
rapidly growing both in terms of population and in terms of land. Transport is a major bottleneck to economic development. However, public transport, like bus, in Douala is highly unreliable and people have progressively turned toward more agile and door-to-door transport provided by the informal sector such as motor taxis.
Government weak on transport development
Weak governance hinders Cameroon’s ability to attract investments and enhance its competitiveness at the city level. Other key constraints for competitiveness are basic infrastructure deficits and high transport costs within cities.
Urban mobility is a major challenge for Douala. Poor transport conditions have become a major bottleneck to the city’s and economic development. Heavy congestion impacts the daily life of habitants as well as a free flow of trade as it engenders high transportation costs for goods and people it can take up to 3 hours for employees to reach their
workplace. In addition, the lack of roads and the poor quality of the available roads are big issues.
Road Congestion caused by too many motorcycles
26 Apr 2019 Transport means in African City
Intra-city buses which most often operate at lower prices. SOCATUR in Douala has a monopoly on public transport services.
There has been a growth in the use of motorcycle locally called “bend-skin”. They are common in Douala where they represent close to 30% of total public transport. However, many people are skeptical about using this means due to the high degree of risk involved.
Transportation vicious circle
The bad condition of roads in Douala discourages buses to provide services for the loss of time and increased maintenance costs. The success of the motorcycle taxi is partially due to their ability to provide service even with poor road conditions.
People would likely travel by motorcycle however, it makes an issue of congestion. More congestion would raise the chance of getting more motorcycles in order to save time for travel.
Sustainable growth in public transportation development can be easily achieved with the implementation of an Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) System. It is highly appreciated to have it to accommodate ever-expanding 3.6 million people.
However, most AFC systems are very expensive with comprehensive software for account-based and financial clearance.
A low cost and effective AFC system suitable for Douala have to be used.
The writer is a frequency traveler. To learn more, please visit mobileafc.net.