22 January 2013

South Africa: Joburg Transport in Need of Overhaul

Johannesburg — The City of Johannesburg has conceded there is a need to overhaul the public transport system in South Africa's economic hub.

"There's a lack of integration between different modes. There's an issue of infrastructure so funding for transit infrastructure becomes a very crucial issue," member of the mayoral committee on transport Rehana Moosajee told reporters on Tuesday.

Johannesburg needed to focus on attracting skilled people to help "revitalise" the city's transport network, she said.

"More and more people are spending a lot of time waiting for public transport or on the road trying to get home or to work and this affects the economy and leads to a loss in production."

Moosajee said the big question for Johannesburg was how to align development along transit corridors.

She also spoke about the mooted restructuring of at the metro bus service. Options included keeping Metrobus as it is, or re-fleeting the company and having an employee ownership share.

"We are continuously looking at options. In February, we will kick in what we call house hold travel survey. The survey will give the city an idea of where public transport is needed and where to focus our integrated transport plan," she said. The survey was expected to run for three months.

In 2011, the city announced that it had launched a process to determine the ability of the local automotive sector to build the 134 buses required for Phase 1B of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) locally. On Tuesday, Moosajee confirmed that a successful bidder has been awarded a tender to manufacture the busses.

She also noted that the minibus taxi industry remained crucial to the city's public transport but that in its current form it was difficult to manage.

"We all know that this is the transport sector that is not subsidised but it remains crucial in transporting the people of Johannesburg so mini-bus taxis remain crucial and we will be working with them."

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