Jozi unveils ambitious transport system

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Amos Masondo, City of Johannesburg executive mayor, will unveil a R2 billion plan for the initial phase of a new public transport system today.

The new transport system is also part of the City of Gold's preparations for the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.

Also expected to attend the function at Johannesburg Stadium are representatives of the various taxi associations operating in the city and other stakeholders.

Known as Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transport, the system is modelled on a similar one used in Bogota, Columbia, studied by Johannesburg's top brass and engineers.

Johannesburg is joining the other World Cup host cities who will also be unveiling their bus Rapid Transport System plans soon. The other host cities are Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town.

The project, which will be done in various phases with the last one scheduled to be completed in 2013, is undertaken by the Johannesburg Development Agency and Johannesburg Roads Agency.

Bob Stanway, City of Johannesburg's transport executive director, said: "We are working towards negotiated contracts with existing taxi and bus operators on these routes, so that they effectively become the new joint operators of the BRT system."

The first phase will comprise a route of some 122kmwith provision for about 150 closed bus stations, positioned on overage about half a kilometer to three quarters of a kilometer apart with dedicated and partitioned bus lanes.

The closed stations will provide for effective security and CCTV will also be in position throughout the entire system.

The city said in a statement that a substantial portion of the first phase of the project will be in place for the Confederations Cup.

It will be focused on Ellis Park Stadium with a more enhanced system ready for the World Cup.

The system will provide for different permutations and combinations of routes, with high bus frequencies in peak periods of between three and five minutes, and about 20 minutes in off-peak periods.

Main trunk routes will be served by a feeder bus system.

Trunk routes will criss-cross the inner city and its immediate suburbs, while the feeder buses will travel further afield, for example Sunninghill feeder systems will extend to Fourways and out to Midrand.

Fares for the new transport system will almost be equal to those charged by other buses and taxis.

There will be an interchange with Metrorail at Park Station, Rosebank and Sandton stations.

New Canada, Orlando and Lenasia stations will also benefit.