One big brother will oversee all Gauteng transport
A single efficient transport authority which ultimately oversees proper links between trains, buses and taxis, and single tickets for commuters...
This is what Gauteng's new transport plan envisages.
Yesterday, Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi released the final five-year Gauteng Transport Integrated Plan (GTIP5).
"It will assist the process of social integration and the more effective utilisation of public resources allocated for roads and transport,"he said.
"Hopefully, it will increase levels of mobility, convenience and safety for residents and reduce the cost of doing business in Gauteng."
The GTIP5 is a short-term intervention plan to alleviate blockages and to improve the road network and public transport system in Gauteng.
It's the basis for a 25-year plan due in June next year and is available on the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport website at www.roadsandtransport.gpg.gov.za
Vadi said there had been an "extensive response" to the draft GTIP5 issued in July.
Discussions included the taxi industry, bus industry, the Gauteng metros, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), Sanral, Transnet Freight, the road industry, environmental stakeholders, the Commuter Forum, the freight industry and the Airports Company SA.
"We've revised and updated the report," said Vadi.
The draft report identified 11 priorities, and the consultations kept those and added two more - regulation and enforcement, and accessibility of transport.
The enforcement section noted the need to deal with problems like speeding, drunk driving and driver attitudes, and corruption with regard to law enforcement.
Accessibility focused on physical access, particularly for disabled people. "Physical and architectural barriers impeded the ability of people with special needs and impairments to access places easily, safely and equally," said Vadi.
Implementation would not mean more money in the provincial budgets, but rather reorganising existing funds.
Top priority was setting up a centralised Gauteng transport authority. The preliminary structure should emerge next year.
Co-ordination with Prasa was high on the list and included four Metrorail stations over the next two years to accommodate taxi ranks and cycle access.
A single ticketing system for Gauteng transport also was a priority.
Others included transforming the taxi industry, better access to major freight routes, pedestrian paths and cycle ways, and effective management of existing infrastructure.
Vadi said commuters didn't feel safe in taxis, drivers were rude and aggressive, and dealing with these would include law enforcement.
The province needed a more unified voice from the industry as there were 185 taxi organisations. "We can't work with a fragmented industry like that," said Vadi. "We need vision and leadership in the industry."
The unpopular e-tolling was not a provincial responsibility, and the plan assumed it would go ahead.
The chairman of the steering committee for the plan, Gautrain Management Authority head Jack van der Merwe, said e-tolls might encourage a faster move to public transport.
"The quicker we get into public transport as a priority, the better for us."
There were already a significant number of alternatives to toll roads for those who could not afford them. Among those was the old Joburg-Pretoria road, which now included an upgraded dual carriageway, although there would be a "degree of discomfort" for those avoiding the freeway.
In line with another plan priority, Joburg had already started building cycle lanes in Soweto, with the province donating 5 000 bicycles to needy schools.
Vadi said Gauteng should densify urban settlement areas around transport nodes and push for social integration across race and class groups.