RE: “A cheaper public transport system is what we need” (The New Times, January 9).
I too don’t agree with the author on his tax solution but my comment will be will focus on another of his point that I also disagree with.
Mr. Gitura, whereas I agree with the ‘”small thing effect”, there are currently not many Rwandans who own cars but who decide to leave them at home and take buses to work.
Unlike in western countries where people grew up in families that owned cars for generation after generation and who later on also buy their own cars mostly in their early twenties, for such people in the west, a car may not mean as much as it means to an African who worked hard and managed to buy it when nobody else in his lineage has ever owned a car, let alone a bicycle.
The emotional attachment to a car for such Africans and Rwandans for that matter is so great that it is impossible at the moment and probably for a long time to be able to decide to leave them behind and take buses to work.
There is also the issue of unreliable means of public transport, which cannot be a better alternative this time.
So your concern that commuters will see a de-congested highway and decide to drive to work instead—leading to traffic going up and returning the situation back to where it was prior to the widening road project—will not happen.
If ever, the situation was to return where it was; it would be for a different reason and not due to the equilibrium effect you described.
Spot on! A Rwandan (or African) would drive to the washroom if it was possible. Cars are still seen as status/achievement symbols rather than means of mobility.
In our neighborhoods, you see families driving to church less than half a kilometre from their residence. They can only leave their cars if they become more and more inefficient compared to public transport.
Therefore, the best solution would be to dedicate sections of roadways to public transport, with strict and harsh enforcement. That way public transport will be more efficient and preferable to private cars. This will in turn make public transport more attractive to investors and be better organized.