News Analysis – Urgent Need for Long-Lasting Solutions [analysis]

Authorities in Yaounde yesterday, May 11, 2015, launched an onslaught against ‘cargo,’ or luggage vans hitherto transformed into commuter buses and other non-conforming ‘bush’ taxis or ‘opep.’

The decision by the administrative authorities in the capital city is sequel to a similar move by officials in the port city of Douala last year banning the use of ‘cargos’ in public transport. Lacking as the public transport system in Cameroon’s major towns is these days, there is no gainsaying the safety of commuters should be the concern of motorists and vehicle owners at all times.

While several other attempts have been made in the past to bring stakeholders of the public transport system – especially in towns and cities – to order, the problem seems not to die away. Rather, it has become more and more serious over the years, with the growing number of urban dwellers. For now, the lone mass transit bus company in Yaounde, ‘Le Bus,’ is almost as good as dead. From the few dozen brand new and fairly used buses of some years ago, the company is today a shadow of its hey days.

Almost all the vehicles have broken down without any visible efforts to replace them. Moreover, only a little fraction of the areas hitherto covered by ‘Le Bus’ today ‘enjoy’ such services from the few rickety buses still plying the routes of Yaounde. Only a few years back, the newspapers were awash with news of a tramway project for Yaounde. The Yaounde City Council authorities had also hinted at the idea of launching a mass transit company which is still to see the light of day.

As the problem persists, it is important to look well beyond today’s measures. In the first place, the streets are narrow and few, thus there is need to make the best possible use of them in the meantime. It must be admitted that regular taxis, no matter the number, cannot satisfy the growing needs of urban transport in our major cities. Not even the commuter buses can do the trick for long. There is therefore urgent need for the authorities to begin thinking of a more-lasting solution – the introduction of true urban mass transit systems by bigger, more resistant buses, light rail and tramway services. The earlier, the better for everyone.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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