Shali Nanghala, a beautiful young lady from Ludwigsdorf, decided to undertake a 30-day challenge of riding the Windhoek Municipal buses and it was a success. The MoveWindhoek project, supported by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) conducted an interview with her to get to know more about her experience and motivation
1. How did you come up with the idea to ride the buses?
A few months back, I met a young lady, a 2016 recently graduated. She told me about her journey of the Municipality buses and how her peers looked down on her, had a negative perception of the bus. Then I decided I’m going to challenge myself, to park my car and start a 1 Month Challenge of taking the bus, whilst tweeting with the #1MonthOfUsingMunucipalityBuses every day of the 30 days.
2. Why did you decide to take up the challenge?
Firstly, to help denote the stigma connoted to public transport. That public transport is for poor people and often looked down on. I also strongly believe that transport is important for Namibia’s economy.
3. What is your overall opinion about the bus services?
Most importantly, they are essential although there were mornings I felt like driving myself to work. I’ve read up on Africa and public transportation and not many countries have a public transport system that is as swift as Windhoek’s.
4. Did anyone else take part in the challenge with you?
A couple of people joined in, students and young professionals. Some were keen but because of some challenges (either there is no route etc.) they have not been able to.
5. Are you planning on repeating it or doing some other promotional campaigns?
I’d actually like to do it at least 30 days, every year going forward. Especially with all the plans that the CoW has in plan for the public transport sector, it will be easier to use the Bus services. Other promotional campaigns, at this juncture, no.
6. What improvements do you think can be done for the bus services?
As I took the bus, I have observed, passengers would often beg the operators/drivers to hop off at traffic lights, or yields, as the next bus stop would be too far from their destination. Suggestion: If at all possible, create temporary bus lanes at traffic lights, even if they’re only a few meters long.
7. How did it change your and other people's opinions?
What stood out mostly in the audience I was exposed to, people didn’t know how to use the bus services, even if they wanted to. I know people that still take the bus to this day, since the challenge and it’s mainly because they got comfortable with the fact that anyone and everyone can take the bus.
(Shortened by the GIZ Transport Project for editorial reasons)
For more information on the MoveWindhoek project and bus services, visit www.movewindhoek.com.na