Friday, September 10

Mass Transit System for Central Shoa?

From the Railway Gazette of March 2004 - Addis Abeba plans interurban light rail.
Proposals are being developed for a 100km rapid transit link between Addis Abeba and Nazareth to relieve transport problems in the Ethiopian capital. Public transport patronage has increased by 43% since 1986, with local buses now handling more than 600 000 passengers a day.

Although described as light rail, the initial route would be an electrified interurban parallelling the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway main line between Addis Abeba and Nazareth. Services would run every 10min, serving 15 intermediate stations including Meskel Flower, Gottera, Ring Road, Kaliti, Akake, Dukem, Debre Ziet and Mojo. As a second phase, this would be augmented by a feeder trolleybus route serving the industrial area south of the capital. Hydro-electric power for both routes would be supplied by the Ethiopian Electric & Power Authority.

Project Director Dr Getachew Betru of GBA Consultancy says the line would be built by a public-private partnership, taking two years to complete. The project has been endorsed by the government, and Betru is hopeful of raising finance from international donors. With patronage of 60 000 passengers a day and a load factor of 65%, Betru believes the line could pay back its private-sector investment within five years.
This is certainly an ambitous project that reveals a reassuring degree of forethought on the part of the Addis Ababa Administration. However, is more wary because of the general depressed state of the economy
Unfortunately, many residents enjoy substandard housing without running water, so the prospect of a new rail line seems unusual.
According to the Railroad Association of South Africa
A Mass Rapid Rail Transit Public Network that links the city of Addis Ababa with Nazareth Town and an electric bus way transit between Eastside (Jima Road) and Westside (Megenagna Junction) linking with the southern corridor would be constructed at a cost of one Billion birr [nearly 120mn US dollars] soon, project director said. In a statement he gave here on Thursday [29 January], Dr Getachew Betru said the rapid rail and the bus way transits are interlikned but independent mass transport systems.
Building will reportedly start by early next year. Clearly such a project would have enormous benefits. Any problems will probably be investigated by whoever is putting up the money be it the IMF or World Bank before funds are released.

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