Pretoria - At 5.30am on Monday, the first A Re Yeng bus will depart from the depot and head to the station near the intersection of Nana Sita and Paul Kruger streets in the city centre for its debut trip.
The bus will pick up its first passengers from the station and drive to Hatfield, via Sunnyside, at 6am.
It will stop at seven stations along the 7km inception route - two in the city centre, three in Sunnyside, and one apiece at Loftus Versfeld and Hatfield, connecting with the Gautrain Station.
The cheapest tickets cost R8, with maximum price determined by how far a passenger wants to travel.
The route has feeders to and from Groenkloof, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Steve Biko Academic Hospital and around the city centre, all operated by the same buses as those used on the main route.
Tshwane Rapid Transit chairman Abner Tsebe said that following the historic signing of the bus operating company agreement for the inception phase on Tuesday, all roads were clear for the system to go live. The agreement illustrated the unique relationship between the city and the transport industry, including the taxi trade, he said.
Following the signing, certificates were awarded to 43 drivers, all sourced from affected taxi operators in the city. They had completed theoretical and practical accredited training in customer services and in driving of the state-of-the-art buses.
A Re Yeng will be officially launched on Friday. Tickets will then go on sale at the walk-in centre at Sammy Marks Square and at all stations along the 7km route.
The signing of the agreement was the product of many months of intensive interaction between the role players in the transport industry in the capital city.
The agreement stipulates that services by the bus operating company during the inception phase commencing from the “go live date”, are for a maximum of three years.
The inception route will run as an interim arrangement until negotiations with the affected operators along the full phase one - Soshanguve and Mamelodi -0 have been concluded.
At the conclusion of the process, all the affected taxi operators will become beneficiaries of the ultimate 12-year contract that has been negotiated.
City manager Jason Ngobeni praised all involved in the project.
When it was first conceived, executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa indicated that A Re Yeng had to be the best bus rapid system ever seen, he said.
Awarding the certificates to the drivers, Ramokgopa urged them to not only be ambassadors of the city, but to demonstrate what could be achieved by South Africans if they stuck together.
When the history of public transport in the city was written, the names of taxi industry leaders and the leaders of the Tshwane Rapid Transit, Tsebe and deputy chairman Piet Mahlangu, would feature prominently. “I have used buses in other cities across the world, but none had free wi-fi,” he said.
A Re Yeng would be A-rated public transport in the country, Africa and the world, the mayor added.
The bus operating company agreement was made possible by the co-operativeness and positive attitude of the taxi industry, he said.
Taxi associations’ members who will be affected by the introduction of A Re Yeng, will now have to move from an informal transport environment to a new formalised dispensation, he said.