Transport on the agenda

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Johannesburg- Johannesburg's transport is defined by a dichotomy: the majority of the city's residents travel by bus, public rail or minibus taxis, while middle-income residents rely almost entirely on private cars.

As a way of generating discussion and finding solutions to bridge this gap, the City will be hosting a transport themed week from 4 to 9 September as part of its Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) consultative programme, GDS2040. Joburg.org takes a look at the conference and other issues that will be on the agenda. 

Issues surrounding transport going forward into 2040 will be examined, and there are a number of activities and events planned to get the wheel rolling.

The focus, in particular, will be on: increasing public transport use and reducing private car use to contribute to improved quality of life for present and future generations; economic opportunities from moving to green fleets and green fuels; accelerating the roll-out of integrated public transport, including the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system; reducing congestion and its negative impact on growth and productivity; creating jobs through the green economy; and partnerships to promote road safety and enable behavioural change.

A fun walk through Newtown will begin the week's proceedings on Sunday, 4 September. It will be followed by a dialogue at the Bus Factory focusing on transportation in the next 40 years.

"The event is mainly to engage community stakeholders on transport-related issues which affect them at community level, and suggestions to address them," says a City spokesperson, Dudu Lushaba.

Questions will be asked about how local communities can contribute to improving transport, and its role in promoting growth and development.

Various seminars and discussions will follow during the rest of the week, with an emphasis on turning transport green and transforming public transport operations, among others. Green transport will be the theme of the seminar on Monday.

It will examine the promotion of local manufacturing of environmentally friendly buses; the creation of jobs through the use of local labour and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs); renewable fuel sources; and reducing the use of large freight and the number of delivery and waste vehicles by encouraging more local production, distribution and waste recycling.

Dialogue on the role of transport in improving productivity and growth will be held on Tuesday, and will look at problems that companies face, such as congestion and consequent time delays and how businesses can partner with the City to improve transport. It will also explore options such as carpooling and sharing, forming lift clubs, and working from home.

"Participants are encouraged to use public transport to the venue, Park Station, to experience the state of public transport in the city," Lushaba says.

In addition, there will be talk shows on community radio stations on Wednesday. "The [member of the mayoral commit for transport, Rehana Moosajee] and other spokespersons will be on various radio stations. [They will] raise transport values and how residents, through their own actions, can change and improve public transport, improve road safety and protect road infrastructure."

Transforming public transport operations to make them more efficient and user-friendly will form an important part of Transport Week. Discussion on this topic will be hosted on Thursday and will examine how public transport operators can partner with the City, as has been done with Rea Vaya.
Rea Vaya and its value chain will be discussed, as will ways to improve service delivery and safety, resolving conflict, change management, economic empowerment and employment equity. The half-day session will take place at the Apartheid Museum in Ormonde.

An indaba on Friday, 9 September will wrap up the week's activities by bringing together and collating the outcomes of each session, to determine the way forward. -BuaNews

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