The transport department was planning to invest more than R70bn in the country’s public transport system and road infrastructure, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said yesterday.

However, these were not new resources as the budget for infrastructure development in the country had already been allocated by the treasury in the long-term expenditure framework.

“This year, our investment on public transport, from roads to public transport and transport infrastructure, is more than R70bn, equivalent to a sizeable percentage of our GDP (gross domestic product),” he said at the launch of the Durban People Mover .

He said the ministry’s strategy was to reduce congestion and private car dependency by offering an attractive, efficient and reliable public transport system. By 2020, passenger movements in the cities would be more than double .

“We need to rise to the occasion by ensuring increased investment to maintain and improve our public transport system.” He said SA could not build itself out on the current road congestion.

The People Mover in Durban would deliver a transport system that was safe, comfortable and reliable, he said. It is intended ultimately to reduce traffic congestion within the city of eThekwini.

On Tuesday, Radebe launched the Soweto Business Express in Johannesburg, intended to entice affluent groups to use public transport.

There have been 1600 applications for taxis in Gauteng to be scrapped in line with the second phase of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme . The Gauteng provincial transport department said yesterday that 75 taxis had been scrapped since the end of March, and 122 more would be scrapped soon.

The government had regulated the specifications for the new taxi vehicles to ensure uniform standards for safety, the number of passengers that taxis could accommodate and other related matters, said Nhlapo.

He said this was an indication of the progress the government and the taxi industry were making to improve the quality of public transport.

The transport department also said it was processing 2800 applications a week for route-based operating licences. The department had received 50000 applications so far. Sapa