Paratransit in Sub-Saharan Africa

First half of 20th Century

  • Colonial governments provided scheduled public transport through public monopolies.
  • Most transit was by bus, though some countries had rail.


Second half of 20th Century

  • After independence, formal transit operations became unsustainable due to population growth, limited road capacity, increasing operating costs, and fare caps.
  • In the absence of regulations, paratransit services using small buses were established by individual owners and self-organized transport associations to meet the demand.
  • Formal systems deteriorated and many disappeared in Sub-Saharan African cities.
Current conditions
  • Paratransit replaced public transport in many cities.
  • The term paratransit is catching on in other world regions to describe informal transit, “para” meaning “to go beyond or further than normal.”