Bid to integrate traffic plans

Bob Stanway, executive director of transportation in Johannesburg. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 29/12/06. © Sowetan.
Bob Stanway, executive director of transportation in Johannesburg. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 29/12/06. © Sowetan.

The Rea Vaya programme is part of a coordinated plan being considered by the Johannesburg metropolitan council to integrate public transport.

The Rea Vaya programme is part of a coordinated plan being considered by the Johannesburg metropolitan council to integrate public transport.

Bob Stanway, a prominent civil engineer who now heads Johannesburg's transport department, said that the plan encompassed Metrorail, Gautrain and the minibus taxi industry that moves 58 percent of the metropolis's commuters.

Stanway said safety would be designed into the system and closed-circuit television cameras would monitor the bus stops and terminals across the city.

But he conceded that no discussion had yet taken place about a dedicated security force to monitor the system.

Rea Vaya is based on a system implemented in Bogota, Columbia, which faced similar problems to Johannesburg, including a chaotic, unregulated minibus taxi industry.

Stanway predicted that the system would woo 20 percent of car drivers to public transport by ensuring that a bus would be available every one to three minutes during peak periods, and at most every 10 minutes during the extended hours of operation between 5am and midnight.

The frequent service and dedicated bus lanes would make public transport faster and more convenient than private vehicles, he said.

Jeremy Cronin, head of the parliamentary sub-committee on transport, said: "There is no other way out of the traffic mess we are in.

"We cannot build more freeways."

Cronin said that no significant public transport project had been undertaken over the last 40 years, and that roads had also been neglected, despite South Africa being "a car-prejudiced society".

He said that the authorities must provide car drivers with a good alternative of "decent, safe and reliable" public transport, but added that they must "force car drivers to bite the bullet".

X