Roll on better public transport

The government has embarked on a campaign to encourage people to use public transport instead of relying on private means.

The government has embarked on a campaign to encourage people to use public transport instead of relying on private means.

We applaud this plan. For starters, traffic jams cost the economy millions a year in lost productivity.

Also, having fewer cars on the road helps reduce carbon pollution which destroys the atmosphere, with disastrous consequences for our health and the environment.

A bold effort is needed to convince a cynical public to use public transport.

The problem of security often comes top of the list of reasons why people would rather incur the huge cost of private transport instead of taking a bus, taxi or train.

It is against this background that we welcome the announcement by Transport Minister Jeff Radebe that 5000 more special police would be deployed to protect train passengers and equipment before and during the 2010 World Cup.

Even better news is that Radebe has introduced the first batch of these railway police to the public in Durban.

The move will go a long way towards making the cheap and efficient rail commuter transport system an attractive option.

So will the government's commitment to spend R16billion over the next three years to improve the rail system and coaches.

It seems rail transport is finally set to shed its Cinderella image as a poor man's mode of transport.

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