THE city of Tshwane has set aside over R1 billion for the next three years for the infrastructure of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in a bid to improve public transport.
Mayor Solly Msimanga announced on Monday that the city was moving ahead with implementing two other lines for the service.
“We have budgeted R 669 million, R 343 million and R 426 million for financial years 2017/18/19 respectively towards the BRT infrastructure. R24 million was set aside for Line 2C – Watloo Road (between Simon Vermooten Road and Denneboom Station).
“We have budgeted R 51 million for line 2C-Lynwood Road (between January Masilela and Simon Vermooten Road),” he said.
Msimanga said the city’s vision was to have a reliable and efficient public transport service with lower emissions in order to remove private car usage which will eventually lead to less congestion. The money will also be used to acquire the buses that will be used and the operations of the Belle Ombre Bus Depot in Marabastad.
“The Belle Ombre Bus Depot which is already being utilized will be able to accommodate 114 buses. It has an administration block which also accommodates on-call drivers facilities, a fully equipped workshop which can service both the CNG and Diesel buses, compressed natural gas fueling facilities, diesel fueling facilities and bus washing bay,” he said.
Of the 114 bus fleet, 40 runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). Msimanga said that makes Tshwane the first city in sub-Saharan Africa to run full CNG propelled buses.
“We seek to reaffirm our position as a leader in green technology and other green interventions. The acquisition of CNG-propelled buses for the A Re Yeng fleet is thus a progressive move towards promoting and achieving a fuel switch within the municipal-owned fleet and to ensure that the municipality is making a concerted effort to minimize its own carbon footprint.
“This investment also acts as a stimulant for the market so that there is a wide uptake of the available technologies,” he said.
Msimanga further called on transport associations in the city to work with government to make the project a success. BRT is a joint project between government and the taxi industry. Taxi owners will have shares in the buses for a period of five years. That, however, means they must give up their taxi certificates to enjoy the royalties from the busses.
“Given our country’s history on public transport, we are aware that disagreements will rise from time to time, either between transport associations or with the government. We say let’s deal with those disagreements in a manner that puts our residents first and come out with amicable solutions that will not result in violence which often puts the lives of our commuters in danger,” said Msimanga.