Council forges ahead with rapid bus system for city

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PATRICK HLAHLA

Metro Reporter

THE Tshwane Metro Council is pushing ahead with the introduction of its bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

The municipality is in the process of acquiring 250 buses for the project, with construction work on the first station in Hatfield expected to start before the end of August.

The project was temporarily shelved in 2010 after concerns raised by the Department of Transport, which found that the design and proposals for the system were flawed.

The department was concerned about, among others, the use of existing road space and lack of an updated full network design.

Work on the provision of separate lanes on the Mabopane highway, between Rosslyn and Soshanguve, had to be halted following concerns raised by the department.

It is expected that the first phase of the BRT will be introduced between Pretoria’s CBD and Hatfield (inception phase), and from Akasia to Menlyn.

BRT stations will be on Church Square (to Hatfield), University Road (to Menlyn), Boom Street (Rainbow Junction) and Rainbow Junction to Akasia, excluding Rachel de Beer Street, Pretoria North.

Construction work on Line 2A (Church Square to Hatfield) is expected to start in August this year and will be completed in October next year, while construction work on Line 2B is expected to start in January next year and will be completed in February 2015.

Articulated buses will be used for the service between Church Square and Hatfield.

The proposed headways in the morning and afternoon peak periods are five minutes (ie 12 buses per hour per direction), while for the off-peak periods the headway will be 15 minutes (ie four buses per hour per direction).

The municipality resolved last month to establish a bus operating company (BOC) as part of its plans to get the BRT off the ground.

The municipality is also looking at the possibility of establishing a fare collection agent that will be responsible for managing and operating an effective fare collection system which will involve automatic fare collection and top-up vendors.

It is envisaged that the BOC will comprise taxi and bus operators and the Tshwane Bus Service. Some, or all, of the affected operators will be transformed into shareholders within the company.

Executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa stated earlier that the establishment of the transport authority would ensure that transport operators, especially taxi operators, were involved in the running of the BRT.

DA spokesman on transport and roads, Justus de Goede, said the change in alignment of BRT Line 2 had not been put to the affected residents, “nor has the fact that alignments will change every month”.


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