1 September 2015

One-day seminar – Paratransit and urban mobilities : Spaces and contemporary challenges

seminar –
“Paratransit and urban mobilities : Spaces and contemporary challenges”

CESSMA (UMR 245) – Centre d’Etudes en Sciences Sociales sur les Mondes Africains, Américains et Asiatiques – and ESPACE (UMR 7300) – Etude des Structures, des Processus d’Adaptation et des Changements de l’Espace –, in association with CODATU, are organizing a one-day seminar on Paratransit. The event will be held in Paris on March 10, 2016, at the Université Paris Diderot, with the objective of bringing together students and seasoned researchers to start an analysis on paratransit’s functions and evolutions in various contexts. The presentations will refer to various research domains (anthropology, economic sciences, urban engineering, history, sociology, urban planning), in order to understand different visions of paratransit services and best highlight their diversity.

Introduction to the topic

Usually appearing in response to growing and, sometimes, unsatisfied public transport demands in cities of the Global South, paratransit has developed, evolved and it represents today a valid option, often the sole option, to millions of inhabitants. Commonly presented in a negative perspective under the term of « informal transport », new analyses of paratransit services avoid describing these services under a negative-only perspective and, hence, they highlight its important advantages in urban contexts of the Global South. These advantages include their flexibility and their difficult-to-match territorial coverage. Arising from individual and isolated initiatives, paratransit services create a dense network well adapted to local demand; yet, regulatory frameworks remain inadequate and produce operational inefficiencies. The latter are characterised by oversupply and negative externalities.

If the study of mobility is the study of habits and used modes for a myriad of individuals with various needs and constraints, paratransit services cannot be overlooked. Indeed, large cities in the Global South have public transport systems composed of institutional (also referred to as “formal transport”) and paratransit services, yet these two elements lack in complementarity and coherence. What’s more, considering the growing private car ownership rate, it is necessary to reflect on the role of paratransit services and their adaptation to this new context. Similarly, the emergence of associative economy and increasing liberalisation have played a role in the appearance of paratransit-like services in developed countries’ cities.

Tentative programme

The one-day seminar is organised around four sessions: three workshops and a final round-table. For each workshop, a particular subject is at the heart of the discussion and three presentations depict current examples of paratransit services in selected cities. Pertaining to the round-table the main topic will be the integration prospects and perspectives for other types of services (notably on-demand transport and new services based on the use of private individual vehicles) in developed countries.

09h00 – 09h30 : Opening Session
  • Opening by Gilles GUIHEUX, CESSMA director
  • General presentation of the seminar by Léa WESTER et Rémi DESMOULIERE
  • Introduction by Mr. Xavier GODARD, Former Research Director at INRETS
09h30 – 11h00 : Workshop 1 – “From supply to demand, from demand to supply – The role of paratransit services in cities on-the-move”
  • Chair: Mr. Frédéric AUDARD – Associate Prof., Aix-Marseille Université ESPACE
  • Lourdes DIAZ OLVERA, Didier PLAT, Pascal POCHET – ENTPE-LAET (France).
    Paratransit in the day-to-day mobility of Dakar
  • Aliou NDAO – University Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis (Senegal).
    The « Jakarta » phenomenon: between mobility supply diversification and overhaul of the transport system in Senegalese cities
  • Eliott DUCHARME – Lyon Planning Institute (France).
    Paratransit services and urban mutations in Amman (Jordan): A resilience tool or a development obstacle
11h00 – 11h30 : Tea/Coffee Break
11h30 – 13h00 : Workshop 2 – “Paratransit and Institutional Transport : competition and complementarity”
  • Chair: Chantal CHANSON-JABEUR – Researcher in contemporary history, Université Paris-Diderot CESSMA
  • Hind KHEDIRA – ENTPE-LAET (France).
    Transport restructuring in Rabat-Salé : Who benefits from the tramway network?
  • Arnaud SERRY – University of Havre – IDEES (France).
    The marshrutka, post-soviet paratransit collective taxi, characteristics and current evolutions
  • Abdelhakim KEBICHE & Oussama KHARCHI. Université Sétif 1 – IAST (Algeria).
    Informal transport, an answer to transport demands and an adaptation to « experienced territories » – The case of Sétif urban area
  • Pablo SALAZAR FERRO – CODATU (France)
    Buenos Aires’ « charters »: Paratransit services as an alternative to individual transport?
13h00 – 14h00 : Lunch
14h00 – 15h30 : Workshop 3 – “Regulation or auto-organisation?”
  • Chair: Laurent FARET – Associate Prof., Université Paris-Diderot
  • Walter Kouamé KRA – University Alassane Ouattara, Bouaké (Ivory Coast).
    Paratransit in Abidjan : A competition challenge against the backdrop of criminality.
  • Léa WESTER – Aix-Marseille Université, ESPACE (France).
    Auto-organisation: A road towards paratransit adaptation to urban contexts in Brazzaville and Lima.
    Regulating paratransit in Jakarta urban area: for what, for whom?
  • Assogba GUEZÉRÉ – Université de Kara (Togo)
    Video: Organisational paths of mototaxis in Lomé, from their appearance to current day situation: From demonization to institutionalization
15h30 – 16h00 : Tea/Coffee Break
16h00 – 17h30 : Round-table – “FROM SOUTH TO NORTH: WHAT FUTURE FOR Flexible Transport Services?”
  • Chair: Julien ALLAIRE, Managing director CODATU
  • Introduction: Prof. Aaron GOLUB – University of Arizona (United States)
    Video: Paratransit services in New York
  • Arnaud DAUPHIN– French Development Agency (AFD)
  • Nicolas LOUVET – 6t Research firm
  • Richard DARBÉRA – LATTS


University Paris Diderot, building “Olympe de Gouges”, 8 Place Paul-Ricœur, 75013 PARIS – FRANCE