It is preposterous to milk the hapless taxpayer or ratepayer any further to subsidise the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system (Property tax mooted to finance transport, July 22).
First Johannesburg builds the BRT at the taxpayersâ€™ expense, and now scratches its collective head on how to finance it.
Are we in kindergarten? Or is it a form of compulsive spending on buying new toys? The arms deal, Gautrain, soccer stadiums, Mercs for public servants â€¦ and now the BRT and jolly fact- finding missions to South America for the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance, taxi association bosses and sundry genuine technical specialists.
We are horrified to read that the BRT will cost Johannesburg an estimated R10bn, and is expected to generate R158m per year in revenue. Other sources would have it that the BRT will cost R20bn for 330km. We are all in favour of an integrated transport system, but there are limits.
It is impossible to get any true figures on the BRT construction. Is it R2bn (phase 1a) or R10bn (for two phases) or R20bn for all 330km? How are the operating costs being raised to build or import buses, build the BRT stations, and who will manage this very complex and sophisticated transportation system, considering that the city was incapable of running an efficient Metrobus service, which is now being allowed to wind down in anticipation of the BRT, which may turn into a white elephant yet? The BRT has no track record of success in Africa.
We must assume that the hard- pressed ratepayer â€” or property owner â€” will have to fork out yet more subsidies, but does the taxpayer want to pay more taxes to get rid of the mini- taxis and instead be burdened with the BRT? Surely a nonsubsidised transport system is to be admired?
Do readers know that in Quito the army had to guard its BRT for four years against vandalism by angry community members?
It is another whitewash statement that properties next to stations will rise in price. If only it were true. What may be of benefit for a shopping centre or an office block that relies on human traffic is detrimental to residential properties.
Living along an arterial or mobility spine may indeed be detrimental to your health, what with a constant roar of traffic plus the BRTâ€™s heralded schedule of articulated buses running from 5am to midnight. BRT stations surely spell litter, noise, pollution, cooking mamas, informal taxi ranks, informal ablution corners, park-and-ride sites and more begging vagrants.
Bring back the Metrobus service. The cheapest, quickest, easiest solution is to jack up the management, improve schedules, scrub up the buses, wipe off the graffiti and let the double-deckers run frequently.