WINDHOEK: Works and Transport Minister Erkki Nghimtina says there are transport policy issues that need urgent attention, as the country faces “a situation of weak enforcement towards carriers of public transport permits”.
“We shall make sure that those people who are responsible for the lives of the people they are transporting act responsibly, and are monitored accordingly,” Nghimtina said during the opening of a one-day stakeholders’ workshop on the ‘Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan for the City of Windhoek’ in the capital on Tuesday.
The workshop is the first planning consultation for the development of a sustainable and integrated transport system for the city.
The Ministry of Works and Transport; Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development; and the City of Windhoek, in collaboration with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), are developing a plan and institutional framework that will encourage a structured and integrated approach to sustainable urban development for Windhoek, and also including Rehoboth, Okahandja and the Hosea Kutako International Airport.
The master plan focuses on local transport in the study area, but also involves the integration of inter-urban and regional public transport.
Once completed, the plan will be replicated in other regions, and will guide regulation of a national policy for public and non-motorised transport.
Nghimitina said his ministry is aware of the weaknesses in the current public transport policy formulation and regulation as some are highlighted in the White Paper on Transport Policy, which regulates the transport sector.
The minister said the problem of inter-city transport facilities and the lack of an accessible public transport infrastructure for inter-city bus and minibus transport which contributes to piracy and illegal fares, also needs to be addressed.
“We need to ensure that all modes of transport are well-balanced. We cannot focus on one mode of transport only. It is essential to create a well-integrated system where buses, taxis, cyclists, cars and pedestrians co-exist safely,” he stated.
Nghimtina noted that transport in Namibia, especially urban and inter-city transport, has become expensive, unsafe and inaccessible, and this situation needs to be changed.
There is furthermore an urgent need for a completely new planning approach and strategic framework for pedestrian infrastructure, as the number of pedestrian accidents as a result of their competing for road space with cars, is disturbing.
The Minister noted that special attention is required to ensure that pedestrians enjoy access to public transport, walkways to public institutions like hospitals and school areas, overhead bridges at crossing points, and more.
Improvements in public transport and non-motorised transport infrastructure will thus have a positive impact on the existing roads’ infrastructure.
“I believe that a more efficient urban transport system will attract more businessess and tourists, and will consequently benefit the country’s economy as a whole,” Nghimtina stated.