For years, I’ve resisted the urge to get private means of transportation. I have held the view that owning is expensive (buy and maintain) and contributes to urban congestion aka traffic jam and increases on our carbon footprint.
I know that owning a car in Uganda carries more social than functional value. It’s perceived as the epitome of success and earning oneself middle class status.
But owning a car will cost me both time and money while being an environmental Hazard.
Rationally speaking, all those points are valid until you examine the alternative; public transportation.
In Kampala that’s a total and complete disaster. I hate myself every time I use a taxi for commuting to and from work and when travelling upcountry. Growing up, I’ve always used public means. I don’t quite remember any single instance where I enjoy my trip. This is partly the reason am not a fan of traveling.
Bodas Bodas on the other hand are a little faster and actually more convenient but sacrifice safety.
I’ve waited for KCCA to style up our public transportation, but so far they have not done much.
Public transportation is still very much an informal, unregulated industry. Taxi men drive the way they like, charge whatever they like, use whatever routes and schedules they want. Even though sometimes faster than private cars given their crazy driving, I must admit having lost a lot of productive time at Taxi stages while waiting for new passengers to board.
Even though research has showed that public transportation improves on traffic flow, KCCA has done little or nothing to make it work in Kampala. There’s absolutely no incentive for anyone to switch from using their private cars to using public transportation. Instead more and more people who once believed and relied on public means can’t wait for own their own cars. Lately, that includes me.
What KCCA should be doing is first and foremost formalize and regulate city transportation. Then they should widen roads and create dedicate lanes for taxis, buses and bodas. That way, while guys with private cars are stuck in jam, those moving in dedicated private lanes reach their destinations faster. This would incentivize private car owners who value their time to opt for public means. More time previously lost in productivity in jams can now be redeemed. With good public transportation, parents can let their kids ride in good public means rather than drive them themselves to school, which by the way is a major cause of jam. KCCA collects more revenue from public transportation service providers and can reuse that money to further improve on services.
But unfortunately, this is still a pipe dream.
It’s surprisingly more convenient, safer and comfortable to use private means than public transportation. More people are buying their own cars, commuting to and from work with them and thus increase traffic on already narrow and strained roads that can’t keep up with growing number of cars on the roads. It’s what we call a negative feedback loop.
Well this is unfortunate, my patience has ran out. I’ve tried to be part of the solution. But that clearly hasn’t worked. Am consciously going to be part of the problem.
I Am Shipping my own private car.
Am going to be part of the statistic contributing more traffic jam on the roads. My car is going to screw up our beautiful green planet with more carbon emissions. And as it turns out, every man for himself and God for us all.