BRT to raise standard of Public Transport in Johannesburg

By Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - The Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System and Gautrain will raise the standard of public transport and put pressure on other operators including mini bus taxis to improve their service.

Addressing a Public Transport Summit on Saturday, ahead of the launch of the BRT buses, Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo said the Rea Vaya aimed at providing a new and efficient transport option for the city's residents and visitors.

He said since the city's implementation will be a first not only for South Africa but also Southern Africa, adding that many eyes will be on the city as it works together to bring the project to its commuters.

"We really do require a world-class public transport system for our world-class African city, if we want to ensure a sustainable city for the next generation, public transport must come first," Mayor Masondo said.

However, he stressed that the BRT was not the only project to improve public transport on its own, but it was part of a bigger picture to provide an integrated transport network for the city and the province.

He said different parts of government play different roles in respect of public transport, which all impact on the citizens of the city, noting that one of the key roles of the city was to ensure the integration and co-ordination of these initiatives through the Integrated Transport Plan.

"Stations are being built at key places along the route and we are making sure that at each station, there will be places for other public transport mechanisms including BRT, other buses and mini bus taxis to be able to drop-off and collect passengers.

"At the Sandton station we are looking at a big integrated development with a new taxi rank on one of the floors above the station. We are also working with Gautrain to make sure that the over 100 Gautrain buses that will bring passengers to stations are co-ordinated with BRT and Metrobus.

"We are also planning to offer the same common shelter for all buses and taxis and in order to simplify matters for commuters, we are trying to ensure that they are able to use the same ticket for Gautrain, BRT and Metrobus, but this may take a bit of time to achieve," he said.

Mr Masondo also announced the city's six goals, which has been put in place in ensuring that people live in a world class city, underpinned by a world class transport network.

Among the six goals, it aims to create a community aware of and committed to a core set of values so that all road and public transport users can travel in safety.

The goals also aim to improve access and reduce travelling times for residents to their workplace, educational institutions, recreation facilities and markets by implementing an innovative public transport system, which is aligned with the City's Spatial Development Framework and is safe, affordable, convenient and comfortable.

It further aims to create an environmentally sustainable transport infrastructure and systems, which include the promotion of public transport and non motorised transport choices.

Furthermore, it aims to transform the transport industry which is customer focused, maximises Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment and create an efficient freight-transport and logistics infrastructure to position Johannesburg as a 'Gateway City' to national and international markets.

The summit aimed to share information, consider and discuss issues, deepen the understanding about the Rea Vaya and also look at ways in which the stakeholders can successfully drive public transport forward for the benefit of commuters, citizens and visitors. - BuaNews