BuaNews (Tshwane)

21 May 2008

South Africa: Country to Have Improved Public Transport By 2010

Cape Town — South Africans can look forward to experiencing a radically improved public transport service by early 2010. Delivering his Budget Vote on Tuesday, Minister Jeff Radebe said by 2010, South Africa would have a transport system and services that ranked among the best in the world.

"This confidence has been further strengthened by numerous visits I have undertaken to various sites where work is currently taking place such as our airports, commuter railways, Gautrain Rapid Rail construction sites, road construction, among others.

"It was only in 2005/06 when we presented to Government and various stakeholders the 2010 Transport Agenda. Since then we have also concluded a detailed operational plan which we will be submitting to Cabinet and FIFA next month."

The minister said the preparation for the passenger and freight transport for the 2010 World Cup and the Confederations Cup was well advanced.

The host cities operational plans for both events had been assessed and high level planning was in place.

He said that almost all of the major physical 2010 projects have started in all host cities and some have even been completed or were in their final stages of completion.

The major projects that have started so far include, the Phase 1A of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the City of Johannesburg and at the Nelson Mandela Bay.

"It is our stated objective that the current BRT initiatives will be integrated with the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme [TRP].

He said the scrapping of old and unsafe taxi vehicles and their replacement with New Taxi Vehicles (NTVs) with better safety features was on track.

To date, over 13 533 old taxis had been scrapped and R676 million has been paid out to taxi operators as scrapping allowance. Currently demand for scrapping has exceeded expectation.

Other projects include various rail station upgrades countrywide and particularly those linked directly to stadia or training facilities in host cities.

He said that the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC) had completed the business case for the recapitalisation of Metrorail's fleet.

"It is my intention in the coming weeks to present before Cabinet the fleet replacement programme of the SARCC, for consideration.

"Once approved, the Department of Transport and the SARCC, together with other key Government Departments such as National Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry, will be expected to commence with the process for the implementation of this strategy in the third quarter of this year."

The new rail coaches would put to rest the 3 600 fuel-guzzling, outdated trains on the country's railroads.

Minister Radebe said that it was a matter of urgency to get the old coaches off the railroads and new ones on.

The minister said that another important area for the department had been to drive the capacity of the aviation sector, adding that Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) had embarked on a programme to prepare for 2010 and beyond.

ACSA has also provided for the expansion of airport infrastructure at the OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town and Durban and other airports costing over R20 billion.

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