With only two weeks to go to the start of the Confederations Cup, the City of Johannesburg is yet to award the tender for its e-ticketing solution for the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

The R500 million tender for the automatic fare collection system was supposed to have been awarded in time for the soccer tournament.

Eric Mathebula, project manager, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) BRT, at the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), confirms the tender has been issued, but is yet to be awarded. He adds that tender applications closed in January and a decision should be finalised this week.

The City of Joburg mayoral committee member for transport Rehana Moosajee recently announced the BRT system will be “completed on a sufficient scale to serve the needs of the Confederations Cup”. Moosajee stated the BRT fare system – which forms part of the intelligent transport system implementation – would be available in time for the Confederations Cup.

The cashless, prepaid, electronic ticketing system was supposed to enable the BRT system to transport 69 300 passengers per day, but this number could decrease if the tender is not finalised.

The first phase of the project is set to cost R2.5 billion. Phase 1A of the BRT was supposed to be in place by May to support the Confederations Cup. Phase 1B is scheduled to be completed by the next May, in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The first phase is set to be completed by 2013 and the whole system will be fully deployed beyond 2020.

Taking control

The city, however, says its control centre will be ready on time. Based at the JRA, the centre will feature composite intelligent transport systems to facilitate, manage and schedule BRT buses.

“Staff, including members of the JMPD, will monitor security on the BRT buses and at the stations via CCTV cameras linked to the control centre. If a security-related incident is picked up, a unit will be dispatched to the relevant station or bus to deal with the problem,” says Mathebula.

Traffic will be monitored 18 hours a day and a traffic priority system will give BRT buses the right of way at intersections. The control centre will also host automatic vehicle locators to track buses; a driver management system to manage drivers’ handling of the buses; as well as bus scheduling systems.

Technology will also be employed to provide passengers with up-to-the-minute information at the stations and on the buses. Variable message signs will display updates such as the next bus stop, or the next bus arriving. Mathebula says this will be backed by voice announcements to accommodate commuters who cannot read, or are visually impaired.