Gauteng plans holistic transport solution
THE Gauteng provincial government wants to create a provincial transport authority by the middle of next year, which will allow for better transport infrastructure planning and integration within the province.
The province sees itself as a "city region", according to Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, as Gauteng is a "wall-to-wall" city that includes three large metros - Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.
The province's cabinet recently decided to set up the Gauteng Transport Authority, said Ismail Vadi, MEC for roads and transport, in an interview last week.
"We are looking at the National Land Transport Act, which says metros should establish a transport authority to regulate transport issues such as operating licences and the integration of transport planning across rail and buses," Mr Vadi said.
"We will soon start consulting the metros in the province so we get an in-principle agreement that we should move towards a single transport authority," he said.
As the metros within the province are enmeshed and it would be impossible to cut up the infrastructure, especially with rail, on metropolitan borders, there is a need for a provincial transport authority, Mr Vadi said.
The province plans to align its metro bus services within the cities to better serve the needs of citizens and to eradicate inefficiency and the duplication that has sprung up as facilities such as Bus Rapid Transit systems have developed.
Mike Muller, public development specialist and visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, said during last week's Business Day Dialogue on Gauteng that unless there was greater integration in the planning for transport, particularly public transport, "we are not going to get the inter-modal" planning within the cities to work.
Mr Vadi said the "exact powers, function and form" a provincial transport authority would take were not yet clear.
"We are looking for province-wide co-ordination with a view to better planning for a Gauteng city region. We will have very in-depth consultations with the metros so we get complete buy-in from them," he said.
The province has tried this before. In 2008, it established the Gauteng Transport Management Authority under Ignatius Jacobs, then the roads and transport MEC.
A decision to abandon that management authority was taken when the new provincial administration came into office, Mr Vadi said. One of the reasons the initiative failed was because there had been inadequate consultation between the metros. As a result, it did not enjoy political support at the local level, he said.
Under the National Land Transport Act, the national government wants to devolve some of the operational and planning responsibilities for rail to metros.
"If Metrorail starts devolving functions to the city of Johannesburg and the trains run across the city and through another metro, how as a single city are you going to run those lines?" Mr Vadi said. "It doesn't make sense to have this run on a metro system when you have contiguous cities."
More in this section
- Disillusioned SA will learn to walk like Egyptians
- Chaskalson transcended his bias and loyalties
- EDITORIAL: The problem with ANC branches
- People were central to Chaskalson’s endeavours
- THICK END OF THE WEDGE: Zuma’s Get Out of Jail Free card
- NEWS ANALYSIS: ANC’s winner in Mangaung may still lack legitimacy