South Africa : Taxi industry wants larger control of BRT
By Bathandwa Mbola
Pretoria - The South African National Taxi Council, Santaco, says it will ask government for a larger stake in the control of the integrated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
The taxi body has finalised its proposal for taxi operators to have more ownership of the practical aspects of the BRT.
Briefing the media ahead of the BRT summit to be held on Monday in Midrand, Santaco Secretary General Philip Taaibosch said "it will make logical business sense if the taxi industry would own the BRT project and its entire value chain."
Mr Taaibosch reiterated the taxi council's stance that it "can't accept the BRT in its current form. He said if government remained rigidly resistant to succumb to their proposal then a national taxi strike would be rolled out.
Meanwhile, government yesterday re-affirmed its commitment to build an integrated public transport system for the benefit of all South Africans.
Government spokesperson, Themba Maseko said government will continue to work with all stakeholders.
"Recent reports on the reaction of some taxi associations to the introduction of the BRT system has created the wrong impression that there is widespread resistance to the initiative.
"On the contrary, the majority of South Africans want a better and more improved public transport system that they deserve," he told the media.
When BRT starts operating, commuters will have access to world-class public transport at very competitive prices.
The system, once complete, will feature dedicated and segregated bus-only lanes, as well as bus stations that are safe, comfortable, weather-protected and friendly to disabled passengers.
It will run for 18 hours a day from 5am to 11pm; it is planned to eventually extend this to 24 hours a day. There will be bus stations every 500 metres, with security officers and CCTV cameras linked to a BRT control room.
In Johannesburg, the public has been asked to comment on the draft tariffs, before the first phase of the system begins operating. Comments must be submitted before 30 April.
"These draft tariffs have been approved by the council for consultation. These tariffs, which we believe are very affordable, will come into effect on 1 June when phase 1A starts operating," said Bob Stanway, the BRT project manager.
The recommended tariffs range from R3 to R8.
Mr Stanway explained that the tariffs may be adjusted over time. For instance, if the diesel price decreased or more people used the system, the price of the tickets would drop.
The public can send their written comments about the BRT to Veli Hlope at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or they can be hand delivered to the Office of the Budget, 14th floor, 66 Jorissen Place, second floor west wing, Jorissen Street, Braamfontein. - BuaNews