Cabinet approves Windhoek master plan
Windhoek – The Namibian Cabinet has approved a futuristic transport master plan to alleviate traffic congestion and provide accessibility in the capital city, Windhoek and nearby towns, which could substantially decrease transport cost and accelerate traveling time and make the city a role model in sustainable road transport in Africa.
The master plan is now at its implementation stage and a bus network development and pre-feasibility study for urban transportation in Windhoek has been completed to address the growing problem of managing urban transport efficiently by rolling out more buses, support vehicles, bus stops and shelters, cycle and pedestrian ways, taxi terminals and more.
According to the City of Windhoek (CoW) manager for public transport, Uatjavi Clarence Rupingena, the project is a pro-poor initiative for residents to afford the ever increasing transport costs which sometimes takes more than a third of their income by saving disposable income at least by 10 percent.
Rupingena said that improvement of the transport infrastructure could immensely cut the time in which people travel by introducing a bus route that operates on an hourly basis as opposed to the current outdated system which was introduced in 1959 as a political compromise to transport domestic workers to and from work.
Also, the new system would include on its bus routes areas not currently serviced and create a new fare system that could appease low income groups and eliminate dependency on current transport systems’ high charges.
“The bus service will cater for all sectors in the city and not just to Katutura (a predominantly black township).
We will get a new fleet which will be accessible to all – even the handicapped and pregnant women would be accommodated,” he added.
In addition, the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan (SUTMP) is busy with an on-going pre-feasibility study to introduce a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail Transport system for people to travel effortlessly.
Financial and economic analysis, as well as risk assessment has been done by a consortium of consultants through the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which is the CoW’s development partner.
In 2011, the Namibian government approached Germany to assist them in developing a long- term strategy for public and non- motorised transportation in Windhoek and the surrounding areas.
The main goal of the project is to improve public transport over the next 20 years and reclaim road space for drivers by focusing on safety, aesthetic and environmental concerns, which would also integrate the road transportation network of Windhoek, Rehoboth, Okahandja and the Hosea Kutako International Airport.
The Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan is the Ministry of Works and Transport’s project in a collaborative effort with the City of Windhoek.
According to City of Windhoek, within 20 years, Windhoek would have to cater for transportation needs of close to one million people.