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Wednesday May 30, 2012

Premier seeks central link for Gauteng transport

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane wants to open a central transport authority that will oversee transport between the Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros.

Mokonyane announced this yesterday together with MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi at a Gauteng public transport conference in Sandton.

She said that with the integration between the Gautrain, Metrorail and bus rapid transit (BRT) in the three metros, transportation systems could be better linked if this was planned through a central office. This system could also make a single ticket that worked on all public transport platforms a possibility, as the office could act as a central payment hub.

"This will not be a political instrument, it is an admin initiative. We don't need politicians there, we need technical people."

Vadi said they hoped to implement the central office towards the end of next year as it formed part of both a five-year and a 25-year plan that had been laid out for the provincial department. He said the government had recognised the importance of transport in economic growth, but public/ private partnerships would be needed to build infrastructure. "Nowhere in the world has government been able to roll out major infrastructure alone," he said.

Development of transport routes would focus on three major areas - rail, roads and freight. Vadi said the goal was to make Joburg an inland port and transform the area surrounding OR Tambo International Airport so that it would be unrecognisable in 20 years.

His second goal was to build more roads, despite there being a R2 billion backlog on maintenance that needed to be done to existing roads in the province.

Vadi said rail needed to be made the backbone of the public transport system, as the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) had reported that the numbers of passengers had decreased by 25 percent since 2009.

Tshepo Lucky Montana, CEO of Prasa, which manages Metrorail, said the organisation faced various challenges, including that most of its trains were over 50 years old and could not be run safely at high speeds.

The Star

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