The Department of Transport (DoT) intends to take over the functioning of struggling integrated public transport networks (IPTNs) in five cities, with six cities currently operating these systems, says Department of Transport director-general Alec Moemi.
IPTNs should, ideally, incorporate bus rapid transit systems (BRTs), as well as rail, bus and minibus functions. At this point it refers more to BRT systems.
Moemi last week addressed the joint meeting of the parliamentary portfolio committee on transport and the select committee on transport, public service and administration, and public works and infrastructure via weblink, on a number of issues, including the DoT’s five-year strategic plan.
He added that the DoT wanted to work with cities to “troubleshoot, especially where the [IPTN] programmes have stalled, some in excess of four years”.
He also noted that the DoT wanted to increase the number of IPTNs to 13 cities.
The department also aimed to increase the baseline average weekday trips on these systems from the current 165 000 to 350 000, mainly through adding the “five struggling cities”.
Moemi did not name these cities, nor the one operating at a functional level.
Moemi told the joint committee meeting that the DoT was looking at the introduction of further high-speed rail systems in South Africa.
“The framework has been developed and implemented, and we are looking at this being funded via investment funding.”
Moemi added that the DoT was also “looking at a private sector participation framework for the concessioning of branch [rail] lines to allow new players into this [market] and to end the monopoly of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and Transnet”.
He noted that Transnet would, however, always have the right of first refusal as the “branch lines belonged to them”.
As for the modernisation of the PRASA fleet, Moemi noted that 23 new trains had already been deployed, with another 290 to follow in the next five years.
Seven megastations were also to be refurbished and/or completed in the next five years.
E-Toll, Nine Years in Limbo
As for e-toll on Gauteng’s highways, government continues to drag its feet on making a final decision on whether to enforce or scrap this payment method, as it had been doing since 2011 – nine years ago.
“We need to resolve the issue of e-toll as quickly as possible, and to get a Cabinet decision on this,” noted Moemi.
New Auto Terminal at Durban Port
The Durban port would, in the next five years, need a “totally new automotive berth to transport cars”, Moemi told the joint meeting.
Technology should also be implemented to increase crane movements per hour in order to increase the port’s competitiveness and efficiency.
The DoT intended to set up a single national transport economic regulator, which it would want to “establish as soon as possible”, said Moemi.
“This will give us the opportunity to improve regulations and competitiveness in the transport environment and to ensure commuters pay the right price and get the best deal.”
The DoT also wanted to create a single integrated electronic ticketing system that will be rolled out across the country, incorporating all transport modes, Moemi added.
The South African National Roads Agency has been selected to champion this programme.
“This [system] will allow a commuter to use the same ticket for buses, trains, taxis and for flights,” said Moemi.
Moemi also noted that the DoT was working on drafting regulations for autonomous cars and trucks within the next five years, as well tightening the regulations regarding drones, as new types of drones, such as for delivery, have become available.