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Wednesday Feb 12, 2014

Tshwane BRT 'need not have hit a snag'

Factors that caused delays in the inception of A Re Yeng - Tshwane's bus rapid transit (BRT) - were not unique to the city and could have been averted with thorough better planning.

Work on the the A Re Yeng bus transport system, that was to be completed in April 2014, is still under way.

This is according to Paul Browning, Pretoria-based public transport analyst, who said similar projects in other towns and cities in South Africa had encountered similar problems, and the City of Tshwane should have drawn valuable lessons from them.

The progress report for A Re Yeng for the period ending September 30 indicated the City of Tshwane would not be able to commence operations on April 1 as intended.

While construction of the inception route is 70 percent complete, with the remaining work nearing completion, the report says there were challenges with marketing, training, the acquiring of buses, establishing the control room operation, recruitment of staff, tests and dry runs as well as integration with taxis, Gautrain and the Tshwane Bus Service.

Tenders for key components, such as the control centre, station management and automated fare collection, were under evaluation.

In December, Tshwane Rapid Transit (Pty) Ltd advertised 12 key positions on the city website that needed to be filled before the project could see the light of day.

With the holiday season, interviews, process of selection and the need for the appointees to resign from their present jobs, it will be impossible for the positions to be be filled and recruits have time to prepare for the BRT to be implemented by April.

'It must be said that these delays are similar to those of systems in other cities,' Browning said. 'Only Johannesburg and Cape Town have managed to start operations. In both cities, the infrastructure was ready long before the soft issues were resolved.'

Joburg has introduced two routes since the service was launched in August 2009.

'It is very disappointing that the first A Re Yeng service will not start in April as planned. The effect on commuters may not be all that significant, since there are alternative public transport services from Hatfield to the CBD,' Browning said.

While all the attention was being paid to A Re Yeng, commuters who used the bus and taxi services were seeing few proposals to improve their travel experiences."


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