Kempton Park - The Ekurhuleni metro has launched a R16 million transport management centre designed to be the hub of its developing integrated rapid public transport network.
Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele said it would form part of the metro's intelligent transportation system.
“This is the brain. All those tributaries will be connected intelligently to this head,” he said, speaking at the centre in Kempton Park on Wednesday.
The centre and the IRPTN, which is still being developed, would link the metro’s nine towns and 17 townships in a compact, efficient way.
Gungubele said the infrastructure would mean accessibility and affordability for residents, while it would also contribute to productivity and profitability in the metro.
Member of the mayoral committee for roads and transport Petrus Mhlarhi told guests about the many functions the centre would fulfil. Among others, it would monitor closed-circuit TV surveillance, be responsible for the management, tracking, maintenance and operations of buses, incident management and automated fare collection, as well as provide a place where commuters could get information, he said.
The centre is expected to start monitoring the metro’s existing bus services by the end of March. All new buses would be equipped with automated vehicle location devices to enable the staff at the transport management centre to monitor the movement of the buses.
A tour of the facility revealed a large call centre room with screens across the length of one of the walls.
The screens will be used to display bus routes, show CCTV footage at bus stations and also to monitor major roads such as the N3 and N12. Ekurhuleni’s website can also be monitored so that online consumer complaints can be addressed. The new wall-mounted technology is said to be the first of its kind to be installed in Africa.
The hi-tech centre will create at least 16 employment opportunities. Provision has also been made to accommodate Ekurhuleni metro police officials at the centre to allow them to assist with law enforcement.
Meanwhile, the metro is hoping to launch its bus rapid transit system, known as Harambee, in 2017. The first phase, linking Tembisa to OR Tambo International Airport, is already under construction. The second phase will run from the airport to Boksburg, while the third phase will go to Vosloorus. The total route, once complete, will span 56km.
Gungubele said he did not expect there would be resistance to the establishment of the BRT from the taxi industry.