City of Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee for transport Rehana Moosajee has emphasised that public transportation within the city must improve through improved modal integration, infrastructure development, electronic fare collection and marketing and communication.
Speaking at a Transport Forum Special Interest Group event in August, she noted that the spatial planning done during the apartheid era continued to impact on the city’s residents today, compounded by the fact that at least two-thirds of residents do not have access to cars.
These residents were faced with long travel times and difficult transfers, which were mostly forced through the inner city, she explained.
“There has been little historical investment in public transport and there is hardly any accessibility for those with disabilities and for nonmotorised transport.
“Generally, public transport provision is fragmented and uncoordinated and we are lagging far behind other countries in relation to a seamless, integrated public transport system that is responsive to the mobility needs of citizens and provides the basis for economic growth,” Moosajee stated.
She emphasised that the city could not rely on one mode of transport.
“There must be a symphony of modes, such as minibus taxis, buses and rail, complementing and integrating with one other. We must also prioritise infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists because planning cannot continue to be centred on the private car,” she said.
As part of its commitment to the improvement of public transport, the City of Johannesburg is working on the development of a new comprehensive integrated transport plan, together with the further expansion of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system, and the intended roll-out and improvement of rail by national government.
Moosajee highlighted that the infrastructure of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and Metrorail was scheduled for refurbishment; however, the current state of that infrastructure was worrying.
The City of Johannesburg’s municipal-owned bus service also continued to provide services according to apartheid-planned services only. Nevertheless, the profile of patronage had largely been transformed, she noted.
Further, Moosajee acknowledged that minibus taxis remained the most important public transport mode but, while convenient, she believed this could not be regarded as the best choice, as the taxi industry remained poorly regulated, operated in a volatile environment and generally had a poor safety record.
Meanwhile, a dramatic improvement in the provision of commuter shelters would form part of the city’s public transport infrastructure-improvement plans.
The City of Johannesburg would install 1 400 shelters across the city over the next two years, said Moosajee, adding that the shelters would not be mode or product specific, but would be used by all minibus, bus and rail commuters.