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Monday May 08, 2017

Go!durban on track to start next year

Despite hitting snags along the way, the Go!durban transport system is nearing completion of the first phase, which is expected to be completed later this year.

The whole project is expected to cost R30 billion and is set to be completed in 2030.

The station at Regent Street in New Germany.

The route that links Pinetown and Bridge City Mall in Kwamashu will be the first to be completed at a cost of R3bn.

eThekwini Transport Authority, which oversaw the project, was currently preparing to provide commuters with information about Go!durban in a bid to educate them ahead of the start of the operations.

Many of the substructures of the stations on the first route have been completed.

The first station, which is a prototype, is nearing completion at Regent Street in New Germany.

The station is open-plan, with a tunnel made of glass and steel.

While the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes will be finished in the first phase, some sections of this route will still require the Go!durban buses to use ordinary lanes alongside other vehicles.

Head of ethekwini Transport Authority, Thami Manyathi said it would now shift its focus to erecting traffic signs, landscaping, completion of stations and walkways and pedestrian areas on the route.

"The system will be tested prior to going live and a programme to educate commuters on how to use the new system will begin soon," said Manyathi.

On Monday, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala and Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede inspected the Go!durban route as part of the Economic Growth Exploring Durban Tour before the start of the World Economic Forum which ended on Friday.

During the tour, Manyathi told the delegation the development of Go!durban would yield positive results for the City of Durban and its residents.

The project will connect people and communities to opportunities and enable the socio-economic development and transformation of the city, Manyathi said. Eight routes for buses and one rail corridor route which is developed and managed by Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) were planned.

The bus-based public transport system will operate in a similar way to a train timetable, with scheduled stops at different stations on the routes.

"The buses will have right of way at intersections with traffic signalling providing this ease of flow."

Commuters would use Muvo rechargeable cashless smartcards for trips. The cards could also be used for other municipal transport modes like the Durban transport buses.

Considering the success of the Rea Vaya (We are going) bus system in Johannesburg, ethekwini had high hopes that Go!durban would be a success.

The construction of Go!durban routes had previously been derailed when a group of taxi owners protested against it, forcing construction to stop several times.

At the time, taxi owners claimed Go!durban would "steal" their customers, a fear which was allayed by the ethekwini municipality, and resulted in the resumption of the project.

The precincts around various stations were also earmarked for upgrades, Manyama said.

"This is to help stimulate smaller economy around our stations. There are also bigger plans for further identification of the areas along the routes."

He revealed that ethekwini Municipality was working with Tongaat Hulett Developments as part of the public-private partnership to ensure construction met the needs of the residents.

Central to this was the provision of a Go!durban route linking Umhlanga Ridge to Kwamashu via Cornubia and Phoenix industrial area.

Sunday Tribune


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