in: Ransford A. Acheampong / Karen Lucas / Michael Poku-Boansi / Chinebuli Uzondu (eds.), Transport and Mobility Futures in Urban Africa, Cham: Springer, 181-197
Self-regulated paratransit services have become the main means of public transport in African cities. The rapid implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT) in Bogotá and other Latin American cities has attracted the interest of African cities to reform the ubiquitous paratransit services to regulate the public transport sector and ensure mass transportation. The approach in African cities has mainly supported the incumbent paratransit operators to become operators of the new service in an incremental corridor-by-corridor manner. While this approach avoids incumbent operators' aggressive resistance, it has encountered low interest from the incumbent paratransit operators. Despite the need for a mass transport service like BRT, implementation in African cities has not achieved the expected outcomes. This article argues for a more incremental approach that follows the "reverse product life cycle" concept. The arguments are substantiated by evidence from paratransit reform studies in African cities. This new approach takes into consideration (1) the time required to improve the capacity and competence of national and sub-national governments and incumbent paratransit operators and (2) spreading the financial capital required for governments and incumbent operators. This new approach makes a case for public transport reform implementation institutions to avoid the difficult task of developing a new service in the form of BRT from the onset. Instead, the approach advocates for gradually improving the existing service until a new mass public transport service like BRT is eventually realised.