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A people-centred view on paratransit in South Africa

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

S.E. Woolf a,1, J.W. Joubert b,

a r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Received 2 October 2012

Received in revised form 10 April 2013

Accepted 14 April 2013

Keywords: Paratransit Minibus Africa

South Africa

a b s t r a c t

Paratransit provides a valuable service offering as a flexible and substitutional mode between formal transit and private car. When it evolves to compete with more formal transit modes, efforts are made to formalise it. As in many developing countries, the South African government generally views paratran- sit as a necessary nuisance, emerging and evolving in the absence of more formal transit services. Our paper aims to contribute by providing a more comprehensive context for the South African case: how specific Apartheid laws contributed to the formation of the mode and how deregulation provided a fertile ground for its exponential growth. The industry has evolved into an informal yet well-organised system that dominates the local transit market. Contrary to the popular view that the industry is an amorphous whole, this paper aims to create a more people-centred view of an industry that is made up of individuals trying to carve an existence in a harsh economic environment. We show how, if approached correctly, paratransit is more likely part of the land use and transport solution, and not a problem as it is often per-

ceived to be.

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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