Ndebele upbeat about ongoing BRT talks

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele is upbeat after the recent meeting of the Joint Working Group on Public Transport which was set up to discuss the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

He said on Tuesday that government and the taxi industry had agreed to speed up talks around the implementation of the system to allow for a quick solution on the matter. 

The working group was formed in June as a response to concerns raised by the taxi operators on the implementation of BRT.

It had its work cut out and had to deal, among others, with operational matters and the role of taxi operators and how they will be part of the process. 

The team would also be expected to draft an economic empowerment plan, discuss licensing and regulatory problems and formulate a training and capacity building programme to benefit the taxi industry.

Minister Ndebele said at least 150 delegates represented the taxi industry in the talks had expressed confidence that progress was being made.

He, however, could not disclose in detail the nature of the discussion and areas where there was an agreement.

Issues that were discussed included BRT, the Integrated Public Transport Network projects, taxi subsidisation and the taxi recapitalisaion programme.

"While finalising the BRT process, engagements on other issues will continue so that an interim report is submitted soon and implementation commences by October," Mr Ndebele said. 

He said government took the concerns of the industry very serious and that the matter had received attention from the highest office. "We also want to commend the taxi industry for the serious manner in which they have been engaging with us on this issue," he said. 

Both government and the taxi industry were committed to finding a lasting solution to all outstanding matters