I want to congratulate Lisa Seftel on her excellent article “Wheels within wheels” (July 9). Not only does it explain a lot, and certainly points out a few of the hitherto unknowns of what is being planned, but it also makes good reading. – Peter Smulik, Cape Town

# BRT: Wheels within wheels

No matter how good an article we have, or a project on paper, the entire new bus rapid transit system has not yet experienced the operational problems that are bound to come up.

The first and most obvious issue involves the disgruntled taxi operators. If the bus system is to operate successfully, the taxis must be part and parcel of it.

By the taxi operators’ reactions — and irrespective of what the promoters of the new system say about adequate prior consultation, it’s not a “minority” that opposes it — they do not seem to be on board with the idea.

P aying for the ride with a smart card , which is to be swiped every time you get on, is a major hurdle that the system will face. It will cost a small fortune to travel from A to B if you have to use maybe two taxis and the bus .

Even if a person has to take the bus and train to make their journey, an uninterrupted trip in one direction should be paid for once .

Unless the new system , train and city buses are integrated into one operating system, it will not be user-friendly nor affordable enough to become a success. People will rather choose a taxi that takes them from door to door.

What seems not to have been spelled out adequately to the taxi operators are their proposed routes.

Every station along the new bus route will require adequate feeder routes to allow would-be passengers to continue their journey .

These routes must be offered to the taxi operators for them to see that they can benefit from the bus route.

Offering them the operation of the buses themselves is nonsense. T hey would have been operating buses already if that i s what they wanted.

Taxi operators have developed themselves over the years, providing the only viable public transport, without any assistance, subsidy or encouragement from any official organ.

If it’s going to be a success, the new system needs to be integrated into the existing one — so why not re-organise the smaller, existing ones first, before adding yet another one?

If Joburg can prove it can successfully run Jobus and Metrorail, not to mention associated taxi routes, for the benefit of its passengers, I’ll buy its story.