As the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) cruises to the end of transport month, it is worth noting that the Selby Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) depot is edging closer to reaching practical completion in one of the heavier industrial nodes in the inner city.
The depot boasts sustainability features like sensor-controlled lights, robust steel sheeting for the roof, cladding to help with climate control, and a noise-wall barrier around the premises. The roof structures will allow direct sunlight into the building to reduce the need for artificial lighting, and water recycling for reuse in the buildings and washing bays.
Area-based urban regeneration agency the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), on behalf of the CoJ’s Transport Department, managed the development of Phase 2-B for the new Selby BRT depot. The depot will minimise traffic congestion between depots and route starting points. It will also do minor and major maintenance for the two Rea Vaya BRT operating companies by maintaining in-service buses and out of service buses.
“The Selby BRT depot was undertaken in Phases 2-A, 2-B and 2-C. “This is another example of the city’s plans that are geared towards building an effective, safe, affordable, accessible and reliable transport system,” says CoJ Transport MMC Nonhlanhla Makhuba.
Phase 2-B of the Selby BRT depot entailed the construction of the bus depot workshops, refuelling garages, a new refuelling building, a new double-volume wash bay building, two new refuse buildings and a new gatehouse for security. Construction began in May 2019.
Rea Vaya operators will be able to maintain their fleet with newly installed specialised equipment. It includes brake testing facilities, spray booths, automatic and manual bus washing facility, and a refuelling facility.
The working space is part of Phase 2-C – of which the construction of the administration building is currently underway. This building will be used by Rea Vaya's buses operations manager Piotrans, for Phase 1-A, which will be operating in Soweto to the central business district (CBD) through the Soweto highway. Piotrans is soon to be the confirmed operating company for Johannesburg CBD.
The work for Phase 2-C comprises demolition work in various areas; the refurbishment of workshop areas; construction of a new canteen, gym, new offices, administration rooms, boardrooms, storerooms, main foyer with reception areas, and a newly refurbished courtyard.
“The JDA has been instrumental in providing support to the city’s residents through investment in logistics infrastructure, forging connections between the city’s various nodes and in developing effective transport and telecommunications linkages,” says CoJ Development Planning MMC Thapelo Amad.
One of the CoJ’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) 2040 outcomes is to provide a resilient, liveable, sustainable urban environment – underpinned by smart infrastructure supportive of a low carbon economy. “The JDA is currently undertaking the Selby depot on behalf of the city’s Transport Department, which speaks to this GDS 2040 outcome,” he says.
Other facilities at the Selby depot, which were previously used by commuter bus services provider Putco, enable it to accommodate up to 270 buses. It also has an administration building and an Intelligent Transport System control centre. The administration block has ablution facilities, a canteen, offices and staff and visitors parking.
The project has created jobs and developed skills. About 30% of the contract value was awarded to the economic development of small businesses in the ward, Amad concludes.