The City of Polokwane has unveiled its Integrated Rapid Public Transport System (IRPTS), promising to move commuters around in modern buses by June 2018. The IRBTS, named “Leeto la Polokwane” (Journey of Polokwane), was officially launched by Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha and Polokwane Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng last week. Taxi bosses from several associations including Flora Park, Moletjie and Seshego attended last week Thursday’s function held at the Jack Botes Hall IN Polokwane.
The city said the system, which followed the establishment of similar ones in metros like Johannesburg and Tshwane, was aimed at improving the quality of public transport infrastructure. It was also set to advance the transport system, boost economic investment and reduce transport costs. “By improving public transport infrastructure, it is a demonstration of creating environmentally friendly transport, encouraging the use of public transport than private transport and improve traffic safety,” said Nkadimeng. “Like any other system, this system is a system which is trying to assist people to realize their dreams in undertaking safe and affordable transport. It assists the city to grow its economy.” She said the system was funded by her municipality and the National Department of Transport. In 2015, the municipality signed a memorandum of agreement with taxi associations affected by the system. Nkadimeng said operators from the Flora Park, Moletjie, Seshego and Westernburg taxi associations would be trained and absorbed into the system. “We did not want to kill the taxi industry but grow an industry that will be able to develop economically and benefit everybody. We are now at the phase of putting the depots, stations will be created in a proper manner and we are going to have four operational centers at Peter Mokaba Stadium,” she added. Mathabatha congratulated the mayor for her ‘bold vision’ in bringing change to the city of the stars.
He said upgrading the IBRTS was a government’s technique to encourage citizens to use public transport. Statistics show that more than 43 million people rely on public transport due to poverty. “The demand of modern economic and the challenge of global warming demand government to encourage the usage of public transport as opposed to private vehicle. We must develop a purveyor centred system which will be reliable, effective and affordable,” Mathabatha said. “It will also contribute a lot in terms of crime reduction in the city; it will disarm those who have been taking advantage of unreliable public transport system to rob our people.” Polokwane received 1 549 nominations for the naming of its IBRTS, with Thornhill resident Refiloe Rapotu walking away with R10 000 for proposing the best name.