Pablo Salazar Ferro,- PhD candidate ? Centre for Transport Studies, University of Cape Town

Juan Carlos Muñoz – Associate Professor ? Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

Roger Behrens -Associate Professor ? Centre for Transport Studies, University of Cape Town

Abstract :

Many cities in the developing world are engaged in efforts to reconfigure their public transport systems and improve qualities of service. With some notable South American exceptions, a characteristic shared by these cities is heavy reliance on paratransit services, which are often poorly regulated and operated as informal businesses. Current projects and initiatives aimed at transforming public transport systems, more often than not, ignore or downplay the role of paratransit services. While clearly beset by a variety of problems associated to poor regulatory frameworks and destructive competition, it has been argued that the intrinsic characteristics of paratransit operations offer important advantages in terms of adaptability to the changing urban structures of contemporary developing world cities and of service innovation, and that attempts to eradicate them may be neither pragmatic nor strategic.
This paper reports upon an analysis of selected contemporary projects in South American cities that include a trunk and feeder. Its main focus is on the role of the feeder element in trunk and feeder schemes. Case analysis includes a description of the prevailing regulatory frameworks leading to this option and its outcome.
The paper draws lessons from the selected cases with regard to the strengths and weaknesses of alternative trunk and feeder arrangements, and to possible roles for paratransit services. With regard to the latter, three alternatives for the inclusion of paratransit services in a trunk and feeder scheme are identified: (1) area licensing; (2) reward mechanisms; and (3) concessions. It is argued that the acknowledgement and inclusion of paratransit services under any one of the three alternatives can, if appropriately implemented, lead to a complementary planned – paratransit service relationship that takes account of path dependencies in developing world cities.