Planning for bicycle public transport in rural areas: A Case of Butula Division, Busia District.
The study intended to provide a rational basis for the development of practical rural transportation policies. Until recently, it had been assumed that the expansion of a rural road network and the acquisition of motorized transport would eventually provide an effective transport system. It has however, become clear that majority of the rural population are not directly linked to a conventional road, much less be able to afford to have access to a motorized vehicle. This recognition has led to the efforts to look into alternative forms of rural transport and hence alternative rural transport strategies. The study was carried out in Butula Division, Busia District with an aim of covering boda boda operations (bicycle taxis) along the Mumias-Port Victoria Road, which forms the main corridor in the division. The boda boda were found to be operating along the main corridor and off-corridor. The main study objective was to identify the factors that have promoted or hindered the use of bicycles in the division. Other objectives were; to assess the viability of bicycles as a mode of transport, to evaluate the potentiality of bicycles in job creation and income generation, the problems faced by boda boda operators and users, and to formulate policy recommendations on how best the mode can be used to supplement the other public transport modes. Various research method techniques were employed for use in data collection and analysis. The households, bicycle operators, users and repairers and matatu operators formed sampling units. Bicycle operators, users, repairers and households were interviewed using random sampling while matatu operators were interviewed using systematic sampling. The findings of the study indicate that boda boda increase efficiency and rmrurmze the burden of walking (including headloading and backloading). They are reliable, affordable, frequent, comfortable and convenient. The boda boda offer both complementary and supplementary services to other modes of public transport. They also compete with matatus along the main corridor up to 10 kms. In the process of offering the transport services, there arise conflicts among the Boda Boda Registered Associations. This has led to organizational and management problems which have called for planning intervention. On the other hand, the government through the various ministries has not recognized boda boda operations as a Transport Sub-Sector. In reality, the bicycle is offering the services that other public modes of transport are not able to offer. Therefore the study recommends that boda boda as a viable of transport should be planned along side other modes of transport. In order to strengthen the Associations, the study recommends for a Corridor Association, which will deal with the management and organization of all the Market Center Registered Associations and the Sub-groups. There should be a close collaboration between the Ministry of Transport and Communication, Roads and Public Works, Busia County Council, provincial Administration, the Police and and the Center Associations. If the recommendations will be considered, then this will ensure promotion of bicycles as a convenient, affordable, reliable and a fast mode of transport in the rural areas.