Moving people quickly

DEPUTY Minister of Transport Jeremy Cronin yesterday launched Rustenburg Rapid Transport at the North West town's civic centre.

The R3billion project's construction planning phase will start next year, with the first services delivered in 2015 for more than 500000 people.

Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) is also expected to cater for more than 200000 passengers a day, including the predominantly mining workforce, pupils, students and a thriving inner city.

The public transport system plan includes Rustenburg Rapid Transport (RRT) corridors into the city centre, direct bus routes and feeder routes. There will also be walkways and bicycle paths to promote safety for people throughout the city.

The project has been commissioned in 12 cities countrywide. It is part of a greater public transport initiative emanating from the Public Transport Strategy and Action Plan of 2007, aimed at improving the lives of South Africans.

Addressing stakeholders, government officials, local businesses and the media at the launch, Cronin said it was important that the infrastructure grant was used wisely for the project.

"Making a world-class public transport system financially viable is a challenge for us all, and no less so in Rustenburg," Cronin said. "While there are great opportunities to be realised, keeping running costs manageable will be the major factor in determining the long-term sustainability of the RRT service."

Cronin said all new public transport systems would be designed to ensure that they were universally accessible and contributed to reducing carbon emission growth by 34percent by the year 2020.

Rustenburg executive mayor Mpho Khunou said the project would ensure that all stakeholders and businesses were kept informed about the opportunities of and issues facing the project.

"In delivering a transformed public transport service our primary partners will be taxi and bus operators, who at present provide services in the municipality," Khunou said.