File picture: Phill Magakoe / Independent Media.

Pretoria - Some parts of Pretoria could, in the near future, be declared car-free zones, where motorists will not be allowed to use their vehicles in certain areas.

The possible change to the city’s spatial planning will be in line with the Department of Transport’s strategy for metropolitan cities in the country to prohibit the use of private vehicles in some areas.

Bopang Khutsoane, project manager of global climate change at the department, shared the contents of the strategy during a seminar on transport and mobility at the CSIR on Thursday. This was during the three-day African Capital Cities Sustainability Week Forum attended by at least 28 capital cities in Africa.

While the idea of a car-free zone was news to the city, Bongani Mntambo, executive director at the Tshwane Bus Service, said it was something that could be explored.

“I was hearing about it for the first time, but I put it down. We will need infrastructure to implement it,” he told the Pretoria News.

Car-free zones were believed to be among some effective measures to reduce carbon emission.

Mntambo told delegates at the seminar that the city would, during Transport Month in October, host what it termed “a car-free week” in support of efforts to decrease carbon emissions and congestion on the roads.

Last year, the city encouraged motorists not to use their cars for a day, according to Mntambo.

“On the day people will be encouraged to leave their cars at home and walk or you can use public transport or cycle. We are still at the planning stage with regard to the car-free week, and we don’t have the results about the impact of last’s year campaign,” Mntambo said.

Mntambo also talked about the city’s intention to expand Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) opportunities to the taxi industry, but said assistance was required from the private sector to achieve the objective.

The city’s A Re Yeng buses complied with the latest European Standards for emissions, and a portion of the fleet was operated on CNG, which was a more environmentally friendly fuel than diesel.

He said the city faced some challenges related to where the charging station for electric vehicles should be located. There was only the Belle Ombre CNG depot, which was under construction.

Khutsoane applauded the Cape Town and Tshwane metros for leading the pack when it came to the introduction of electronic buses and vehicles.

She said the department had no policy directives regarding the procurement of electronic transport modes.

Naledzani Mashapha, of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, was concerned about the safety campaigns of the existing infrastructure. “We have cases where a person has torched a train but the next day will be waiting for the same train to pick him up,” Mashapha said. He proposed the agency partner with the city to deal with safety issues.

Pretoria News

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