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Friday Feb 19, 2010

Transport Department committed to cash-strapped BRT

The department of transport vowed yesterday not to let the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system collapse amid the major funding problems it is facing.

"The ongoing insufficient funding is a major concern. BRTs are mass transit network projects needing sustainable funding for 10 to 20 years ... We will not allow it to collapse," said acting Transport Department director-general George Mahlalela.

He was addressing a packed SA Bus Operators Association (Saboa) conference in Pretoria on the progress made in the introduction of integrated public transport networks in the country.

"It (BRT) is a better experience in many ways, and interventions need to be put in place to deal with the funding matter."

The project, as part of efforts to improve public transport, had already been rolled out in Joburg, with Pretoria expected to follow soon.

It got off to a hesitant start last year as taxi operators wanting a stake in the project brought the city to a standstill by staging a stayaway.

Francois Meyer, from bus company Golden Arrow, welcomed the implementation of the project but hoped it would not be a "half-baked system".

On the overall BRT project, Mahlalela said the department was in talks with cities that were lagging behind. Negotiations with Saboa members on how they could benefit from the project were continuing.



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