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Wednesday Mar 20, 2013

All systems go for Tshwane's rapid transit system

A new name has been unveiled for Tshwane's rapid transit system which is expected to be operational next year.

The new bus service will be known as Re Yeng (Let's Go), a name voted on through thousands of SMSes and the internet.

Executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, left, and the mayoral committee member for roads and transport ,George Matjila, share a joke outside the new Tshwane rapid transit station.

The unveiling of the new name coincided with the unveiling of the new bus station in Hatfield.

The municipality ran a competition, Buzz a Bus, last year when residents were invited to choose from four names - A Re Yeng; Tsamaya (Go), Dumela (Greetings) and Makeka (Meandering).

According to the deputy city manager of operations and service delivery, Lisa Mangcu, more than 15 000 votes were received for the competition via SMS, the internet and manually.

"This gave everyone an opportunity to take part in the competition," said Mangcu, adding that University of Pretoria student Nomcebo Sengwayo was adjudged the winner.

Sengwayo won herself an allexpenses trip to Washington after her name was picked from the SMSes sent through.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new name and the bus station, mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa expressed confidence that the municipality would meet its target for the introduction of the bus system.

"We are confident that we are making progress and are confident that we will make the deadline," he said.

Ramokgopa said the rapid transit system was not just a transport system, but part of the municipality's plans to reconfigure the city, ensure economic growth "and improve the quality of life of our people".

He added that the municipality planned to provide a transport system that was safe, affordable and reliable.

Ramokgopa says when the system goes "live" next year, they will look at the issue of non-motorised transport, especially around the Hatfield station.

"This is a good case for us to develop a coherent non-motorised mode of transport. We have students in this area (Hatfield) and they can be allowed to park their bicycles at the station," he said.

Ramokgopa said the municipality had signed a memorandum of understanding with affected bus operators in Tshwane.

He added that the municipality had been able to reach this critical milestone, largely through the cooperation of the various role-players involved in the imaging and construction of the system.

According to Ramokgopa, the people of Tshwane played their part by giving the municipality direction and choosing the system's name.

"It is with confidence that we move forward into the next phase of construction," he said.

The first phase of the bus system stretches from Nana Sita (Skinner) Street to Hatfield and will be operational in April next year.

In total, 51 stations will be built, from Kopanong in Soshanguve to Mamelodi, and at peak times, A Re Yeng trunk services will operate every three to five minutes, with feeder services every 15 minutes.

The entire system is scheduled to be operational by October 2015 and the municipality is expected to procure 154 buses for the system.

Property owners in Paul Kruger Street have objected to the closure of the route between Pretoria Station and Boom Street to certain classes of traffic. They say the closure will restrict access and negatively affect parking in the inner city.

Paul Kruger has been designated for the bus service with construction work on the route - which will run up to the Rainbow Junction, Pretoria West, expected to start within the next few weeks.

The property owners indicated that the old Pretoria Town Planning Scheme did not make provision for off-street parking in the inner city for offices, residential or retail development (zoned general business).

"Owners of buildings (developed before 1998) have an established right to existing street parking for patrons' usage for short-term parking," they stated in their objections.

They also said the municipality should involve them in any studies on traffic simulation plans, management and maintenance plans to be conducted before the closure of Paul Kruger Street.

"These should include, but not be limited to, traffic enforcement, parking, safety and security, cleaning and recreation facilities.

"Studies undertaken by the CTMM (City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality) should include organised business and the City Improvement District, and neither have been included," the property owners stated.

Pretoria News

    
 

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