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Friday May 04, 2012

Rea Vaya's new routes to help ease pain

The Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system extended its services yesterday, opening up four new stations and launching a new express service.

With the express route to and from Thokoza Park in Soweto and new stations along Rissik and Harrison streets, Rea Vaya hopes to enable an easy integration with Metrorail and the Gautrain, City of Joburg mayoral committee member for transport Rehana Moosajee said.

"The opening of Basothong Station at Selby south will open up the Rea Vaya service to a new market of workers and residents who live or work in Booysens and Selby south. We welcome these riders to the Rea Vaya," she said.

Rea Vaya already boasts about 42 000 commuters a day.

Yesterday, a busload of councillors, city managers and journalists travelled to the new stations for the ribboncutting ceremonies. The routes opened at 5.30am.

Speakers at Park Station, where the first opening was held, highlighted the struggles that Joburg commuters face.

Many commuters complained of spending too long on the road, which cut into family time. Rea Vaya hoped to

Ttackle this with special highlighted routes for its buses.

Cars are not allowed to travel in the lanes with thick red lines. Motorists who ignore this face fines. "We want to dedicate road space for those who choose to travel in the collective," said Moosajee.

Another complaint was cost. Many commuters spend up to 60 percent of their household income on public transport.

Passengers can now travel from Thokoza Park to Park Station, off Rissik Street, for only R7.30, or R10.50 if they have to transfer to other buses during peak hours.

In addition to decreased time and cost, Rea Vaya hopes to make it easier to move between different modes of transport.

The new station at Park Station is strategically placed to facilitate travel between the trains and buses.

"Rea Vaya is not a standalone transit system," Moosajee explained.

Rea Vaya workers worked the long weekend to ensure the new routes opened yesterday.

Moosajee said Joburg public transport still had a long way to go, but the small steps would add up to make a difference. "We are on the move and we intend to continue moving," she said.

The Star

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