With over 60% of the 35 million daily motorized person trips recorded in South Africa made by public transport it is undeniable that South Africa is a country in desperate need of a viable and sustainable public transport network that will allow commuters to get around easily, quickly, affordable and at any time.
There are 2 million passenger trips by rail, 4 million by bus and around 15 million by minibus taxi happening in the country daily, because of this all across the country South African cities are planning and investing in transport infrastructure as a catalyst to enable and promote urban regeneration and development.
Cities such as Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Rustenburg and Tshwane have proposed integrated planning solutions which include among others bus rapid transport systems, the Gautrain, commuter rail systems, upgrading of existing services,provision for taxis and also considerations such as and encouraging walking and safe cycling routes, to improve public transport systems designed to appeal to commuters of all economic backgrounds.
October is #TransportMonth and as much as some people have no other option but to use public transport, two questions arise. What can motivate those using private transport to make use of different public transport and possibly reduce traffic congestion but also what can be done to make public transport users' trips more comfortable, punctual and efficient?
While rail and bus services are extensively subsidized,non-subsidized minibus taxi services account for over 70% of all public transport trips. According to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), taxis transport approximately 15-million commuters daily and this consists of 60 to 70% of the commuting public and workforce. Yet this industry is plagued with health and safety issues and a track record of death and poor driving.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) merged the South African Rail Commuter Organisation, Metrorail, Intersite Property Management Services, Shosholoza Meyl and Autopax into one organisation. The goal was to improve efficiency, innovation and accountability and reverse the decline in commuter rail services. Established in 2006, the organisation has met with criticism and been plagued with problems.
Fortunately commuters are not left to rely solely on Prasa to get around. Investment by the various metros into reliable modes of transport continues apace. In Gauteng the three biggest metros — Johannesburg,Ekurhuleni and Tshwane — are spending plenty of cash on providing reliable and modernized bus rapid transit (BRT) systems.
Redi's full interview below...
We'd love to hear from you: What are some of your experiences when it comes to public transport? Where do you think it's working well and where do you think it needs great improvements and what improvements would you suggest? Do you use your own private transport? What could motivate you to use public transport or what improvements regarding public transport could make YOUR private transport trip better? Your comments below please...