THE Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS), which was launched in the Northern Areas last year, is now in full swing. However, commuter numbers remain a challenge. Led by Mayoral Committee Member for Roads and Transport Councillor Marlon Daniels, the IPTS office launched a massive community survey and marketing programme on Tuesday, June 26. One thousand seven hundred people have already been recruited through the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) to be “Community Champions”. The programme is aimed at boosting commuter numbers and getting feedback from people of the Northern Areas about the IPTS system and its service so far. The community champions will embark on door-to-door visits in the areas, which the current IPTS serves, to market the system and get feedback from existing and potential commuters. The secondary intention of this project is to create work opportunities for the people of the Northern Areas. The community champions are currently undergoing training in marketing, survey information gathering and general interpersonal skills. Speaking at the launch held at the IPTS Depot in Cleary Park, Daniels said, “We have noticed as the municipality that we are not making headway with regard to the IPTS. “We are actually running it at a loss. “Therefore, to ensure the success of the bus system, we must make drastic changes in how we operate. This step is the first of many interventions we will embark on to make the IPTS the best in the country. Roads and Transport executive director Dr Walter Shaidi said that it was critical, for the system to succeed, to obtain direct feedback from the people who are using the system and those who are potential users. “This survey will give us invaluable information that we will directly use to improve our service,” Shaidi said. “This is a system for the future and the city’s economic development will depend on its success.”The Northern Areas route is a pilot phase, while preparing the Njoli route already started. The intention of the city by introducing this system is to create a transport system that is safe, punctual, reliable and affordable. The IPTS system is targeted at the regular working class, job seekers and learners. For more information contact communications and media management officer Mthubanzi Mniki at 041 506 1555/071 381 3779.