Phase 1 of Go Durban! expected to go live in 2018

2013-11-02 00:00

GO Durban!, eThekwini’s concept Integrated Rapid Public Transport System (IRPTN), is expected to go live in five years.

The R20 billion project, which will see Phase 1 operational by 2018 and the remainder of the system completed by 2027, is expected to incorporate buses, taxis and trains into a single public transport system allowing commuters to seamlessly change modes of transport by swiping a single card.

According to the council, the taxi industry will play a key role in operating the system; however, the industry, represented by the eThekwini Metro Management Taxi Committee (EMMTC) is cautious, wanting more detail before they fully commit.

Nine transport corridors are to be developed (see graphic) over a phased approach.

Phase 1, costing R10 billion, will comprise three Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes and one rail corridor all linking Bridge City, Durban CBD, Pinetown, the Umhlanga Corridor, kwaMashu, Berea Road, Umlazi and Isipingo.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa is expected to sink a further R2 billion into upgrading its existing facilities.

All road infrastructure funding will come from the national and provincial departments of Transport.

City Mayor James Nxumalo said the system, the first of its kind in South Africa, will also integrate bicycle and pedestrian walkways as well as park and ride facilities.

“We aim to revitalise the bus and train systems. Prior to 1994, this city was built on the premise of segregation, not integration. This project will be financed by both the provincial and national Transport departments. The development will mean 85% of all city residents will live within 300 metres from a transport facility,” said Nxumalo.

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said if more commuters could be moved onto efficient, clean and safe public transport it will make roads safer and less congested.

“We lose from our economy, as national government and as a country, in excess of R306 billion as a result of accidents. We must not be complacent about accidents. We must make sure all vehicles and drivers on the road are safe,” said Mchunu.

eThekwini Transport Authority head Thami Manyathi said negotiations are ongoing with the EMMTC, representing five taxi regions in the city, on how they will be incorporated into the system.

“We have been talking to the industry for approximately four years. … It is important we have them on board,” said Manyathi

EMMTC secretary Mdu Xaba said further discussion on the taxi industry’s involvement is critical, with some current taxi operators likely to be sidelined.

“We still need to unpack the system thoroughly. There needs to be spin-offs for operators leaving the industry. This new system should not negatively affect the taxi operators,” said Xaba.

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