BRT will not collapse: Department

2010-02-19 10:56

THE national department of transport vowed yesterday to not let the

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system collapse amid major funding problems it is

currently facing.

“The ongoing insufficient funding is a major concern. BRTs are mass

transit network projects needing sustainable funding for 10 to 20 years, and we

will not allow it to collapse,” said George Mahlalela, acting director-general

in the department.

Mahlalela was addressing a packed South African Bus Operators

Association (Saboa) conference in Pretoria, on the progress made in the

introduction of integrated public transport networks in the country.

“It (BRT) is a better experience in many ways and interventions

need to be put in place to deal with the funding matter,” he said.

The project, as part of efforts to improve public transport, had

already been rolled out in Johannesburg, with Pretoria expected to follow

soon.

It got off to a hesitant start last year as taxi operators wanting

a stake in the project brought the City of Johannesburg to a standstill by

staging a stay-away.

François Meyer from bus company Golden Arrow, said they welcome the

implementation of the project, but hoped it would not be a “half-baked

system”.

Mahlalela said investments were made in the past four years to

improve modes of transport, but “not much has been achieved”. The taxi

recapitalisation project and the refurbishment of train coaches were examples of

this.

“The target for refurbishment of 2?000 coaches has not been met. We

are hoping we would have met the target by March this year in time for the

soccer spectacle.”

On the overall BRT project, Mahlalela said his department was in

talks with cities lagging behind.

Negotiations with Saboa members on how they could benefit from the

project were still underway.

 

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