Lifts at city bus stops

2014-02-26 00:00

ACCESS to Durban’s new enclosed bus stops placed in the middle of major roads will be a combination of underpasses and bridges with lift access for the disabled.

And the R3 billion already committed to Go! Durban, the buzz name for the city’s new integrated public transport system, is just enough to get part of the first phase ready.

The three new major bus routes, known as trunk routes, which make up Phase 1, will be added to the public transport grid between 2016 and 2018 as the city moves towards the utopian idea of a seamless, cashless and cost-effective public transport system.

Phase 1 comprises corridors from Bridge City, Inanda to Durban CBD known as C1; Bridge City to Pinetown known as C2 and Bridge City to Umhlanga, which is called C9.

The entire system is to comprise nine transport corridors and will be completed by 2027.

The R3 billion committed has been dedicated to completing the route from Bridge City to Pinetown via kwaDabeka valley.

Six contracts for this project will be awarded before the end of the financial year.

City deputy head for road systems management Carlos Esteves said: “The contracts will include the construction of the stations, lighting, traffic signals and accessibility as well as the development of purpose-built bus lanes. Access to the station will be varied and must be accessible for the disabled,” said Esteves.

He said accessibility will be a mixture of underpasses, bridges and road crossings, while lifts will be implemented as necessary.

“The stations are about 50 metres in length and enclosed. There will be no artificial cooling; however a combination of vents and various building materials will be used to keep the buildings cool,” said Esteves.

He said work on the other two routes that pass through areas such as Stamford Hill, Newlands East and Umhlanga will begin in 2015, but their construction will be funding dependent.

City officials have said due to the difficult terrain a variety of access point options will need to be used unlike what is seen in Johannesburg’s Reya Veya and MyCiti in Cape Town where the geography is largely flat.

Erik Moller, the city’s deputy head of public transport, said while there is a phased approach, the city aims to have “wall to wall” coverage.

“We can’t do everything at once due to the sheer cost of the project, so what we did was look at the areas with the heaviest demand. Once the routes are operational the articulated buses will run the trunk routes arriving at each stop every 60 seconds while feeder routes will use a mixture of other bus services,” said Moller.

The rail corridor is also expected to be completed during the same period with the city stating it has an agreement with state passenger rail parastatal, the Passenger Rail Authority of South Africa. This will link Bridge City and kwaMashu via Berea Road to Umlazi and Isipingo. It is expected the rail network will carry 40% of all traffic.

The three trunk routes will add up to 48 enclosed bus stops to the city’s public transport network, 189 articulated buses, which will be supported by 226 60-seater buses, and 562 midi-buses with seating capacity varying between 16 and 32.

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