Go!Durban project progresses

2015-11-24 06:00
eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo speaks at the Go! Durban event held last Thursday. Photo: NOSIPHO MKHIZE

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo speaks at the Go! Durban event held last Thursday. Photo: NOSIPHO MKHIZE

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SIGNIFICANT progress has been made in the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN), Go!Durban project, which will revolutionise tpublic transport in eThekwini.

Construction work is well under way at two transport corridors - the C3, linking Bridge City, KwaMashu, to Pinetown and the C9 running between Umhlanga and KwaMashu.

At the C3 corridor, bulk earthworks and excavations have been completed on the majority of the route with progress made on bridges. Preparatory civil works for stations have commenced with 1.3 kilometres of right-of-way already completed.

According to eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa other significant strides made include the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the taxi industry in February last year.

“A MOA was also agreed upon with bus operators and is pending a signing ceremony.

Taxi industry technical advisors were appointed in October last year with the appointment of bus operators’ technical advisors being finalised. The establishment of negotiation structures in line with the MOA has been completed. The programme of action budget is also being finalised.

“A survey for revenue and skills audit is also being finalised. This is to ensure that no jobs are lost and those employed by affected operators are re-skilled and can work in the new transport model.”

Head of eThekwini Transport Authority Thami Manyathi said while the project is expected to take 15 years to complete, it will leave a lasting legacy in the city with a safe, improved public transport model.

He said almost 85% of residents will be in close proximity to some form of the transport system.

“We have designed the complete transport solution for the city and we are now mapping out the implementation. Operational readiness will be our key focus in 2016 with the first corridor [C3] opening in 2017.”

He said other infrastructure required for the C3 corridor include transfer stations, a terminal station, a depot and transport management centre.

“Safety is very important for people who leave their cars at home and opt to use public transport.”

He acknowledged that there have been some challenges thus far including mini-bus taxi operators stopping work demanding a stake in the construction and service delivery protests, both which were dealt with.

Regarding concerns about the effect Go!Durban would have on the taxi industry, ETA deputy head Mlungisi Wosiyala said not all the 112 taxi associations in eThekwini would be affected by the IRPTN.

“This will be an integrated service with various modes. Negotiation structures are being finalised and negotiations are expected to start in March 2016. Some operators may have to upgrade their skills.

“ We are doing a skills audit to determine this. We will try ensure there are no job losses.”

He said affected operators can opt for a payout for withdrawal of their operating licence or they can form companies that will be contracted to provide the services on affected routes. In return for the bus operating contracts, the affected operators will be required to withdraw their vehicles on that particular affected route.

eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said it was important to keep the public updated on the project.

Nxumalo said he was on site in Pinetown and was impressed with the work done thus far.

“The project is moving along, however, we need to maximise employment opportunities at both sites for the youth. This is a legacy project for the city.” - Supplied.

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