Incentivizing Off-Peak Minibus-Taxi Feeder Service: Driver Perspectives on Reform Approaches

20 Apr 2020

Public transport reform efforts in Cape Town have previously focused on replacing unscheduled minibus-taxis with scheduled bus rapid transit services. However, this has proven more difficult and expensive than expected. As a result, the City has signalled its intention to use minibus-taxis as feeder services to scheduled trunk services within a hybrid public transport network. Earlier research in Cape Town has indicated that a potential problem within a hybrid system is a mismatch between the service spans of minibus-taxi feeders and those of trains and large buses. A range of policy interventions could lead to improved complementarity of service spans, including the introduction of a range of incentives, or off-peak minibus-taxi feeder services operating under contract to the City. Because these interventions will have varying implications for minibus-taxi business operations and driver remuneration, the success of efforts to reform the city’s public transport network will depend in large part upon the willingness of minibus-taxi drivers (as the key decision-makers with respect to the timing and frequency of service) and owners to provide complementary service under new ‘hybrid’ conditions. Measuring this willingness presents an important policy challenge; this paper presents results from a stated choice survey conducted to determine this willingness among drivers. Policy interventions are presented that are likely to extend minibus-taxi service hours and, in some cases, encourage shorter headways. The paper discusses implications of these interventions as well as driver acceptance. Because the cost of providing scheduled feeder services has proven more expensive than forecasted, any intervention must use limited financial resources efficiently. To assess interventions on this basis, the cost of each intervention to the public authority is estimated using the choice modelling results.