Joburg's Rea Vaya bus route to open by mid-year
The routes have been outlined; the stations built; even the artwork is in place.
But for Joburg's Rea Vaya Phase 1B there is still a way to go to implementation. 1B is the new 18km route from Thokoza Park in Soweto to the Joburg CBD with 10 stations along the way.
But, while the new stations might appear ready the system is set only to be launched in the middle of this year.
"We've been involved in very long talks... because Phase 1B is slightly more complicated than 1A as it includes minibus taxi operators from the top six and greater Joburg taxi associations and companies such as Putco and potentially, Metrobus," said Rehana Moosajee, member of the mayoral committee for transport.
"So the discussions are more complicated as they involve a higher number of potentially affected operators."
A different methodology than for Phase 1A - which began running in 2009 - had also to be used, she said.
For phase 1A they were able to say 585 taxi vehicles had to be handed in to make way for the new buses.
But with the new route, they had to look at converting the number of bus seats .
"It's likely to be tough negotiations because they include the extent of shareholding (and) the fee per kilometre the city should pay... but we are targeting very optimistically to have the system launched by mid-2013," Moosajee added.
The City of Joburg was trying to promote local manufacturing in bus content.
Ordering fully imported buses was "not an option", she said.
"There's lots and lots of work to be done, from the negotiations and identification and training of drivers to identification of shareholders...
"If there's a need for scrapping of vehicles, that has to be facilitated," Moosajee said.
Between Phase 1A and 1B, to date, the total cost of the systems has been R3.5 billion.
In terms of the beautification of the stations, seven artists had been commissioned to do designs relevant to the area and context of each station, or adapt existing artwork.
Moosajee said: "Part of our vision is to change the perception of public transport as areas of crime and grime to attractive areas that attract great public space for communities to meet."