Good transport system bodes well for 2010

Friday, September 11, 2009

Johannesburg - Government has identified the transport sector as one of the most important sectors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, both from a legacy and event delivery perspective.

Transport Minister, Sibusiso Ndebele, on Thursday evening said without sufficient transport, South Africa would not be able to host a successful world cup event.

He said his department has taken an active lead in the transport plans for the World Cup to ensure all infrastructure needs are met.

"We are leading the coordination process, ensuring that operational planning is conducted in a uniform and consistent manner in all the host cities. It is necessary that interaction with the relevant sectors takes place," said Ndebele.

He hinted that an operational plan for the event will soon be signed off by all the parties in order to avoid confusion and possible conflict on sites and on match days. "We are pleased that the department now has a permanent representative in the security sector structures to ensure synergy in our planning processes."

Ndebele once again praised the introduction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, describing it as an immediate legacy of the World Cup.

The benefits of the BRT, he said, outweigh its total cost as the system addresses major social issues such as congestion while at the same time drives economic growth. "It is world class and affordable, this is appropriate for the World Cup," the minister said.

Ndebele said on first day of BRT operation earlier this month, close to 20 000 commuters in Soweto and Johannesburg had boarded the Rea Vaya buses.

BRT will run for 18 hours a day from 5am to 11pm and the plan is 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.

Once the system is complete, no commuter will walk for more than 500metres to a BRT stop. Minibus taxis will therefore be an integral part of BRT and our public transport system. Minibus taxis are an integral part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup transport plan.

The minister called on all South Africans to rally behind the tournament, saying the entire population stands to benefit from a strong legacy of an improved national road network and the public transport.

Ndebele was invited as a guest speaker at a Barometer South Africa event on Thursday night. Barometer SA is an association that brings together different stakeholders every year to debate issues of national interest.