Pretoria - The poor management of Tshwane’s Bus Rapid Transit under the ANC-led administration was at the heart of A Re Yeng buses running at a loss, MMC for transport Sheila Senkubuge said on Tuesday.
Reacting to statements by Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and MEC for Roads and Transport Dr Ismail Vadi that the project was failing to attract passengers and generate money, Senkubuge pointed out that billions of rand were injected into the project, but yielded few results for residents and taxpayers.
On Monday, Maswanganyi criticised the business viability of A Re Yeng at the Southern African Transport Conference at CSIR, saying the buses constantly travelled on the roads with two passengers. He questioned whether government should continue subsidising municipal buses instead.
Vadi said current BRT usage in Gauteng was not that great.
Senkunge said: “The DA-led administration of the City of Tshwane notes the statements made by both the Transport Minister and Transport MEC with some measure of concern.”
She said the city undertook a detailed feasibility study and a detailed operational plan with costs, which was approved by the national Department of Transport.
“At present, this service is unaffordable for Tshwane and residents alike, but the city has a plan to make this service available to more and more people across the city, especially poorer people who don’t necessarily have access to transport in areas like the inner city,” Senkunge said.
She said the integrated rapid public transport network operational plan identified a number of phases for planning, design and implementation. “The implementation entailed dedicated lanes, stations, ITS which were the main cost drivers of the system,” she said.
According to Senkunge, the DA inherited a bus rapid transport system that was not adequately planned.
For example, she said, it was meant to serve the inner-city area where people already had more options for public transport.
“It was this administration’s steadfast commitment, upon assuming office, to give effect to our commitment to cultivating an integrated and inclusive transport city that takes into account all residents of our society who need access to a reliable and affordable transport system,” she said.
The DA-led administration under mayor Solly Msimanga would do everything in its power to rectify the poor planning by the former administration, Senkunge said.
The City wanted A Re Yeng to reach remote areas and townships, where rapid transport was most needed, such as Kopanong, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve, she said.
“the Msimanga administration will be rolling out 'BRT lite', and buses that will be running through mixed traffic,” she said.
The financial sustainability of the BRT would be achieved over a period once the other phases were implemented. “This will require patience,” Senkunge said.