Polokwane – The Great North Transport (GNT) bus company in Limpopo has signed a lucrative deal with the Polokwane municipality as the council plans to accelerate the implementation of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.
The parties signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday in Polokwane, focused on boosting local economic development.
The R391 million project is expected to start operating in the 2016/17 financial year, although shares allocated to the GNT and local taxi associations have yet to be revealed.
Executive mayor Thembi Nkadimeng said a market survey of the transport industry would be conducted to determine share values.
“What it means is we are going to do a partnership and everything together, we are going to try and determine as far as possible what is the benefit of taxi industry today, what is the benefit of GNT today,” said Nkadimeng.
“Upon conclusion of this memorandum with GNT, (there would be an) undertaking of operating license verification and market surveys,” said Nkadimeng.
She said the council and partners would sign off on the market survey results and operating license verification results.
Nkadimeng said though transport system model was not designed to make a profit, it had to be sustainable.
“The transport system is not meant to be beneficiary, that is why buses receive grants of money from government and they are subsidised to make economic activities conducive.
She acknowledged that there was a challenge over taxis operating without operating permit.
“Unfortunately as municipality, we will not be able to engage with those who are operating outside of this, but we will be leaving the issue to the parties in the negotiations.”
The implementation of BRT in other parts of country has been met with resistance and seen as plot to oust current players – mainly the minibus taxi industry – out of the market.
Nkadimeng said her council was working on a process to include all parties.
Great North Transport board member Mmantsitsi Maphutha said: “Once the BRT is implemented, we will double the revenue and there will be more jobs created.”
African News Agency
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