Gauteng moves to improve public transport

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pretoria – Residents of Gauteng can expect a fully integrated and developed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the next few years, says Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi.

The MEC was speaking at the launch of the Provincial Transport Month under the theme ‘Transport, Moving the Economy Forward!’ in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“Together with the municipalities, we have developed a set of interventions aimed at transforming public transport into an integrated, reliable, accessible, safe and affordable system.

“Over the next three to five years, the full development of an integrated bus rapid transit system across the three metropolitan municipalities in our province will become visible,” he said.

Gauteng will use Transport Month to focus on the road freight and rail transport segments as contributors to economic development.

MEC Vadi said they will also use the campaign to examine public transport initiatives on the African continent and promote non-motorised transport initiatives in the province.

This approach is in line with the 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25).

Maximising public transport use

The MEC said the progress made in respect of Rea Vayaand A re Yengin Johannesburg and Tshwane respectively is already changing the people’s perceptions of public transport.

“Work on a similar system in Ekurhuleni has already begun and we are examining the possibility of extending the system to the West Rand.

“The inclusion of the taxi industry in these processes and the Hlokomelacampaign of the taxi associations will contribute to the integration of the public transport system across the Gauteng city-region and improve the levels of safety on our roads,” MEC Vadi said.

The MEC said the Gautrain was proof the province could deliver on large-scale public transport infrastructure projects.

The Gautrain has an average daily ridership of 55 000 passengers and 21 000 passengers on its buses. It recently won the Global Air Rail Alliance Award for customer service excellence on its airport line.

A feasibility study on the further expansion of the Gautrain network is currently underway.

On the other hand, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has prioritised the revitalisation of Metrorail in Gauteng.

The acquisition of new rolling stock; the renovation of train stations and the development of a new signalling system will transform day-to-day travel.

Freight Sector

The National Development Plan (NDP) recognises that South Africa’s economy is a transport-intensive economy.

However, its advantages in terms of natural resources are greatly eroded by the high transport costs and poor freight transport infrastructure.

Most bulk freight in the country is transported on the existing national roads, and to a much lesser extent, on Transnet’s rail network.

“Ideally, bulk goods and services should be transport on the rail network and not on our roads. The NDP envisages a strengthened and more developed Gauteng-Durban freight corridor.

A critical success factor for a well-functioning freight corridor is unrestricted access to the terminals for freight, thereby removing bottlenecks on the road and rail routes, and expanding terminal capacity.

The provincial government’s five-year plan is to provide effective freight access to major decentralised freight terminals on the northern and eastern periphery of the urban core of the Gauteng city-region by:

  • Decreasing the heavy freight vehicles numbers in core urban areas and central business districts;
  • Providing adequate linkages outside the province (i.e. Gauteng - KZN Corridor);
  • Supporting infrastructure to freight intermodal facilities; and
  • Aligning freight intermodal facilities with Transnet’s Container Strategy for Gauteng and Durban port developments.