July 28, 2008

South Africa: Road Shows to Explain Joburg’s New Bus System

Road shows are to be held to educate taxi associations and commuters on how the transformation of the public transport system will affect them.

The announcement of the road shows will be held in response to the concerns raised by the taxi association on how their businesses would be affected by Rea Vaya (We are moving) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

The City of Johannesburg the launched the BRT system to form the backbone of the city’s public transport plans to reduce the use of private cars and relieve traffic gridlocks.

Greater Johannesburg Regional Taxi Council Chairperson Eric Motshwane told reporters following a three-day workshop of the industry’s leadership on Monday that taxi operators have raised concern that the project might result in job losses.

Taxi organisations believe that a road dedicated to busses will put them out of business.

The City of Johannesburg, however, has maintained that the new system will in fact benefit them.

Some of the opportunities the BRT will provide is the opportunity to recapitalise the aging taxi fleet to new large buses and an opportunity to share in a bus company, said Top Six Chairperson Sicelo Mabaso.

Elaborating on some of the other benefits of the project, he said it will be an opportunity for the existing drivers to be trained as bus drivers and that there will be an improved working condition for drivers, marshals as well as other employees involved in the Rea Vaya.

He said the BRT system will be the main catalyst by which to achieve a 70:30 ratio of public transport to private transport use ahead of set target of 2010, when South Africa will host the FIFA World Cup.

Phase 1 of the estimated R2-billion project, which is now reaching the end of the operational planning phase, will run articulated “right-of-way” buses along dedicated median bus lanes in both directions across Johannesburg, covering almost half of Johannesburg.

The 120km Phase 1 route will include 150 stations, eight terminals and six depots.

In addition to the 427, 22 metre-long articulated trunk buses, the system will incorporate a variety of complementary and feeder services, including 413, 8.5metre-long feeder buses and 350 complementary 13.9 metre long buses.

The system is expected to transport 430 000 passengers daily.

High-floor buses will allow passengers to embark and disembark at closed, raised stations, with level boarding every half a kilometre to three-quarters of a kilometre.

Effective security, including closed-circuit television cameras, will be incorporated into the system.

Pre-boarding fare collection and smart card fare technology will avoid the need for cash on the system and prevent departure delays.

Rea Vaya will incorporate a geographic information system-based control centre to manage the flow of buses, which will operate at a peak-hour frequency of one to three minutes and ten minutes off-peak, running between 5am and midnight.

Phase 1A, comprising a 40-km route with 48 stations, will be completed by April 2009, ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup, while Phase 1B will add 86 km and 102 stations to the system ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

The system will include routes from Nasrec to Ellis Park through Newtown; Dobsonville to Troyeville through the central business district (CBD); Lenasia to Sunninghill; Randburg to the CBD; Alexandra to Regina Mundi; Braamfontein to the CBD; and a central inner-city route.

The system will interchange with the Gautrain at Park station, Rosebank and Sandton stations and will interchange with Metrorail at Park station and these will be major interchanges at New Canada, Orlando and Lenasia.

A park-and-ride facility will also be established to encourage business professionals to use the system.

In addition to reducing road congestion and pollution levels, the BRT system will enable faster travel times and can operate according to bus timetables.

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South Africa: Road Shows to Explain Joburg’s New Bus System

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