Christo Venter, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering/Centre for Transport Development at the University of Pretoria, said transport was a key lever in the project to transform cities into more efficient, equitable and environmentally sustainable places. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA
Christo Venter, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering/Centre for Transport Development at the University of Pretoria, said transport was a key lever in the project to transform cities into more efficient, equitable and environmentally sustainable places. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

'Cape Town has the best transport system in the country'

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Nov 29, 2021

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Cape Town - Cape Town has the best transport system in the country.

This according to Christo Venter, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering/Centre for Transport Development at the University of Pretoria (UP).

After conducting his research studies on the country’s transport system, and Africa’s, Venter said transport was a key lever in the project to transform cities into more efficient, equitable and environmentally sustainable places.

Venter said the need for transformation was especially urgent in African cities, given their low infrastructure bases and massive projected increases in population.

“Transportation planning is evolving from being highway oriented to embracing the full range of urban mobility problems in their political, social and economic context,” he said.

He said recent efforts to describe and analyse transport upgrading investments in African cities – including those in South Africa – were reviewed from various perspectives, highlighting how the transformative impacts of several projects were limited by an over-reliance on narrow technical analysis.

Venter shared those sentiments when journalists met with professors and deans from among others the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at UP, last week.

He focused on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects that have been introduced or were being planned in several cities.

He said in many cases, project implementers underestimated the importance of engaging with stakeholders, especially the incumbent informal transport industry, and also the complexity of implementing such radical interventions in public spaces.

Lulama Mvimbi, the ANC provincial spokesperson on transport, said while it was indisputable that there were commendable aspects of Cape Town’s transport, they cannot overlook the glaring challenges including equity imbalances and lack of public transport accessibility in rural areas.

Mvimbi said the public transport system in the province was divided, fragmented and not integrated, and it remained unsafe and dangerous for commuters.

Urban mobility Mayco member Rob Quintas said the City’s transport directorate had established a strong institutional foundation to pursue it’s vision for the City’s transport system as an efficient, integrated transport system for all implemented sustainably.

Quintas said that, in particular, it aims to enable integrated, inter-modal and interoperable public transport governance and management to improve the quality of life for public transport commuters, as well as stimulate economic growth through the provision of more efficient performance-oriented service delivery and investment.

He said the directorate has set a long-term multi-pronged action plan, including the commencement and continuous extensive roll-out of the MyCiTi service since 2011.

“The construction and operation of 42 MyCiTi stations, 627 shelters and stops, 32km of dedicated red roads, four depots, 376 buses and services covers more than 25% of the City’s geographical area,” he said.

SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) provincial chairperson Bongikhaya Qhama said the transport system in the province was, comparatively speaking, not the worst but there was room for improvement.

Qhama said in the past decade national roads infrastructure had been improved, particularly in linking to various provincial destinations, while inner city roads standards had declined, particularly in the rural and urban townships.

“This has made it difficult for poor people to gain access to basic services and access to resources for improvement,” Qhama said.

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Cape Argus

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