Many S Africans have access to quality roads

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pretoria - Many South Africans have access to quality roads and public transport infrastructure that facilitate economic participation and social inclusion, says Transport Minister Ben Martins.

"Increasingly, many South Africans have access to quality roads and public transport infrastructure that facilitate economic participation and social inclusion," said Martins at the closure of Transport Month in Pretoria on Saturday.

Transport Month is held annually in the month of October

He said some of the highlights of the progress made include a Bus Rapid Transit system, which has been completed in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Twelve other cities are planning to launch their own BRTs in the near future.

There has also been the construction of new taxi ranks to create a hospitable environment and the implementation of S'hamba Sonke to improve the maintenance of existing roads, especially in rural areas. Government has also worked to improve the cross border infrastructure in some of the busiest borders such as Lebombo and Beit Bridge.

There has been skills development especially in the aviation sector, including the training of young women as pilots; and road awareness campaigns whose highlight was the school debate on road safety which was co-ordinated and hosted by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

Martins said there was, however, a challenge to integrate the different modes of transport to ensure seamless movement of passengers and freight. A significant amount of resources will be dedicated towards the development of an integrated transport plan.

Medium to long term interventions include further plans to strengthen the taxi industry to become a stable business investment opportunity. "In this regard, the review of the bus subsidies to accommodate mini-bus taxis will go a long way in the transformation of the public transport sector."

"With regard to rail, to PRASA is on course to finalise the procurement programme for the acquisition of new trains amounting to about 7200 new coaches," he said.

With regard to the Gauteng e-tolling system, the minister said government had taken a decision to continue with e-tolling as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme (GFIP), subject to further public consultations on the tariffs and the exemptions to be granted.

"I encourage the users of tolled roads in Gauteng to cooperate with government. There is no doubt that the infrastructure rehabilitation through the GFIP will also reduce congestions on the road."

The 2012 October Transport Month Programme was organised under the theme, "Providing a safe and reliable transport for all". - SAnews.gov.za

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