By Mark Kawalya
Tondeka Metro Company (TMC) has selected Optibus, a cloud solution for mass transport planning, rostering, and scheduling, along with SCINTL, an indigenous Ugandan IT firm, to partner on developing a transportation solution for Kampala’s first formal public bus network.
The World Bank-sponsored project was initiated by a presidential drive to spur economic growth and advance public transportation infrastructure in the country.
“This is a great opportunity for Uganda and Africa at large, and a gamechanger in the transportation industry,” said Kevin Short, Head of Technology at TMC.
Transport in Kampala, Uganda’s largest city of more than 1.5 million residents, is primarily by informal 15-seater mini-buses and boda-bodas (motorbike taxis) that do not have set routes and schedules. Pick-up and drop-off points are sporadic, with riders having to contend with long, unpredictable wait times in often hot weather or heavy rain.
“SCINTL will provide vital local support and the requisite infrastructure, together with Optibus, to provide a one-stop solution that encompasses transport optimization for large transport fleets. This will provide travelers with efficient services and revolutionize fleet management in conjunction with Optibus’ platform, “said Cephas T. Bushuyu, Managing Director for SCINTL.
In an effort to bring reliable modern public transportation to Kampala, TMC plans to develop and operate the city’s first organized, routed bus fleet. More than 1,030 buses have been deployed, with the fleet expected to grow to 3,000 buses, which will make it one of the largest bus fleets in Africa.
The fleet will have a 100% electric configuration by 2032, and TMC will employ Optibus’ software platform to plan routes and schedules for the bus network. It will optimize resource allocation and manage daily operations in real time. The program is supported by five government ministries, namely the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of Kampala and local government authorities, and the Ministry of Trade. The project is seen as a tool that will decongest Kampala’s vehicle traffic, boost air quality and reduce accident rates.
In collaboration with Kiira Motors Corporation, and Rentco Africal, TMC, the whole project will be delivered locally, and this includes bus manufacturing, which is projected to generate more than 12,000 jobs over the next three years.
“We are thrilled to join this pioneering partnership to build Africa’s most technologically advanced bus fleet and bus operations solution. Millions of Ugandans will finally have access to the safe, reliable public transportation they deserve, powered by the market’s most sophisticated software solution. Optibus is proud to support Kampala in becoming a model city for transportation infrastructure,” said Amos Haggiag, CEO and co-founder of Optibus.