Briefing Paper

Institutional Preparedness for Urban Public Transport Reforms in Zambia

Zambia’s urban public transport, largely made up of intra-city minibuses, does not meet the international standards of convenience, reliability and affordability, which describes an effective public transport system. The 2013 ZIPAR paper “Trip Modelling and Cost Analysis for Urban Public Transport Systems for the City of Lusaka” describes Zambia’s urban public transport system as blighted
by problems, namely poor service quality, unreasonable route configuration and unaffordable passenger fares, resulting in individuals shunning the system. Such an ineffective public transport system holds back the development of urban areas. Investing in public transport can facilitate improvement of household incomes, economic growth, and social transformation by enabling
efficient movement of people and goods around the city. This forms part of the process often called economic ‘agglomeration’ as concentrations of people can generate hubs of activities where businesses are able to benefit from access to a large pool of labour force and forge linkages with other companies. This reduces costs and increases productivity. It is for this reason that the public transport reforms announced by the minister of transport are not only important but urgent. Zambia, like other countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, is urbanising rapidly at a rate of 4.3% per year. The
country’s urban population is projected to reach 11 million by 2030, which is 4 million more than the current estimate.