MAYORS in Gauteng, including those running the province’s three metropolitan municipalities, stressed on Friday the need for a single provincial transport authority. The roads and transport department has long mooted the idea of a single transport authority as part of its 25-year plan for transport and spatial development. There have been consultations on the agency’s establishment, with a workshop to be convened this week.

Last year, Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi expressed fears that not all Gauteng’s municipalities would agree to a single authority, as they could see it as encroaching on their turf.

This was despite all municipalities in the region signing off on the creation of the Gauteng Transport Commission in 2013. The commission was seen as a precursor to a single transport authority.

Transportation in Gauteng has been managed by disparate agencies and municipalities seen as having failed to prioritise integration, resulting in overlapping systems.

Apart from the three metros including Tshwane, Joburg and Ekurhuleni — Gauteng has another two district municipalities subdivided into seven municipalities.

This week, Mr Vadi again called for a single transport authority at the Gauteng Transport Authority conference in Boksburg.

Member of the mayoral committee of the City of Joburg, Christine Walters, said it was the right time for critical decisions to be made on the matter. However, there was a need for skills and a funding model for the authority.

"If we do not have the right skills and choose the right model, it will become a waste of time," said Ms Walters. "We’re encouraging the MEC and mayors to look at the funding model. We have done formulae on how we can continue."

Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele said the province needed an integrated transport system and a single transport authority was the way to achieve this.

Sy Maphalla, acting executive mayor of the Sedibeng district, said transport planning was needed for the south of Joburg to allow for easier access. He said a single transport authority would allow for a "seamless service" across different transport modes.

Gauteng’s 25-year integrated transport plan suggested transport budgets be doubled in the short term, and increased fourfold over 25 years. It recommended provision of a second international airport after OR Tambo reaches capacity in 2037.