New transport mode on the cards

As part of the preparations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the City of Johannesburg is planning to introduce the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which is expected to alleviate traffic chaos.

As part of the preparations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the City of Johannesburg is planning to introduce the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which is expected to alleviate traffic chaos.

Amos Masondo, executive mayor of Johannesburg, said the much-awaited BRT would follow a round route in the inner city. The construction of the system was under way in the Ellis Park precinct, where additional parking would be created.

The pilot project will see BRT stretching from Parktown to Sunninghill, with Sandton and Rosebank excluded as they are part of the Urban Development Framework prepared for those areas.

BRT will also serve as a feeder to the Gautrain, a multi-billion rand project of the Gauteng provincial train ahead of the World Cup. It will also be a feeder to the Johannesburg Metro bus system.

Masondo said negotiations were under way with other transport stakeholders within the city, including the City of Johannesburg Metro bus service, the taxi industry and Putco bus service.

The City of Johannesburg has already conducted two workshops on BRT, in which a draft land use and guidelines document has been developed and is now available for comment.

"The system will also enable people to travel late at night, go to various places without having to worry about transport. It is already working in various countries in the world, including Colombia and Brazil," said Masondo.

Other developed countries which have introduced BRT include the US, Canada and Germany.

Described as a fast, comfortable and low-cost urban transport system, BRT will also provide an effective public transport service with a supporting pedestrian network and connections.

The national Department of Transport said the Integrated Transport Plan for the World Cup host cities such as Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, and Bloemfontein would include a BRT transport system.

The system will also be used to promote the use of public transport ahead of the World Cup. It will not only be made available in central business districts but also in the townships.

In Tshwane, it will also cover townships such as Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Mabopane and GaRankuwa.

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