Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure has committed to spend a R8.7 billion budget to “build and renew” in the 2022/23 financial year.
This is according to MEC Jacob Mamabolo, who presented the department's budget vote at the Gauteng Legislature.
In attendance was Premier David Makhura and members of legislature, including the portfolio committee on roads and transport in the province.
Mamabolo revealed that of that R8.7bn, the department plans to spend only R402 million on administration, and R2.5bn towards transport Infrastructure projects which include planning, design, construction and maintenance. Transport operations have been allocated R2.9bn and R2.45bn would be allocated to the Gautrain for operational expenses and subsidies.
He said road construction projects that commenced during the last financial year will continue.
These include Tshwane road construction, like the K101 Phase 1: Upgrading (Doubling) road P1/2 (K101) old Pretoria/Johannesburg Road From N1 Rooihuiskraal interchange to road D795; and the K14 from P2-5 (R513) Cullinan Road to Rayton road D483 (R516) to bypass Cullinan.
Mamabolo told the Gauteng legislature that the department noted that according to the 2020/21 Gauteng Household Travel Survey, more households were paying or committing larger proportions of their disposable household income on commuting; and at the same time, travel time increased by 17% from 46 minutes in 2014 to 57 minutes in 2019/20.
The Gauteng Household Travel Survey went further to indicate that commuter trips are generally dominated by the 54% use of buses, 71% company transport and 44% lift clubs’ modes which recorded a substantial percentage for work purposes.
“In order for us to impact the satisfaction level of the subsidised commuter bus service in the province, which has been plagued by challenges of reliability and breakdowns of buses among others, in October 2021 we advertised the tender for the subsidised bus contracts.
“Although this process has been affected by legal challenges, we are determined to transform and modernise these contracts which are clearly outdated and not fit for purpose.”
Mamabolo said the work to transform the entire public transport system continued relentlessly as they have been closely collaborating with various modes of public transport with a view of stabilising the sector through the principles of good governance.
He said he took pleasure in also reporting back to people of the province that the department finally formalised a structure that will represent the e-hailing industry.
“Working with driver partners and vehicle owners, we convened the first elective process, which has given the industry leaders who will work with government to improve the conditions and the regulatory challenges facing this relatively new, but growing mode of public transport”.
With the minibus taxi industry playing a crucial role in Gauteng transport, Mamabolo said the industry would remain the dominant mode of public transport for the majority of our people. But the industry is plagued by violence which the department remains concerned with.