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Thursday Jul 12, 2012

Tshwane BRT gets off the ground

The Tshwane Metro Council is to buy more than 300 buses as part of its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which is expected to go live within the next two years.

Members of the City of Tshwane and Joburg's mayoral committee view a model of the BRT system at the launch in Hatfield.

The project was launched yesterday by executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa who performed a ceremonial sod-turning at the site of the new station in Hatfield.

Guests included the Gauteng MEC for Transport and Roads, Ismail Vadi, and City of Johannesburg mayoral committee member for transport, Rehana Moosajee.

After the sod-turning, Ramokgopa said 340 buses would be bought by the municipality at a total cost of R1.5 billion. Articulated and normal buses would be bought.

"Our technical team is working on the specifications."

The Tshwane Bus Service would operate as a feeder service to the BRT system, Ramokgopa said.

The municipality had experienced a number of operational problems with the bus service.

"One of the problems is the ageing fleet which needs to be replenished."

Ramokgopa said Moosajee and Vadi had been invited to yesterday's function in an attempt to forge closer relations between Tshwane and Joburg.

"We are looking at the possibility of having a ticket system which would allow commuters to use the Joburg BRT system (Rea Vaya) and the one in Ekurhuleni once it gets off the ground," he said.

Ramokgopa said the city and its stakeholders would celebrate once the first BRT bus was driven off from the station.

"We intend (to get the BRT project off the ground) and will be in a celebratory mood with the first ride," he said.

Ramokgopa said the taxi industry would be part of the project.

"We have involved them all the way. They are amenable to some of our proposals. The BRT will not be run by the City of Tshwane but by the taxi industry," he said.

Ramokgopa said the municipality had made land available to taxi operators who wanted to build a filling station.

"They are productive participants and we will assist them by providing them with the piece of land."

Ramokgopa said the municipality's aim was to build a non-sexist and non-racist democratic society.

"The BRT is getting us there quicker and faster," he said.

A member of the Greater Tshwane Regional Taxi Association, Motlhabane Tsebe, said they supported the BRT project.

The municipality had taken good care of the taxi operators, including the provision of land for the filling station, he said.

"This is a good sign that the municipality is looking after us. We have been part of the negotiations since the project started," said Tsebe.

The first phase, stretching from Nina Sita Street (Skinner Street) to Hatfield, is expected to be operational in April 2014.

In total, 51 stations will be built, from Kopanong in Soshanguve - about 80km of road.

At peak times, trunk services will operate every three to five minutes, with feeder services every 15 minutes.

The entire BRT system is expected to be completed and operational by October 2015.

The system will feature dedicated bus lanes along BRT trunk routes, stations at regular intervals, and terminals at major transport interchanges to enable greater efficiency and ease of use for passengers.

Residents in the Tshwane metro area have been invited to choose a name for the BRT.

The residents can choose from four names - A Re Yeng (Let's Go), Tsamaya (Go), Dumela (Greetings) and Makeka (Meandering).

To take part in the competition, known as "Buzz your Bus", residents can choose one of the names and SMS it to 32153.

Entry forms will also be available at municipal libraries, on municipal buses and at university campuses.

Pretoria News

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