Nathi Msimanga of Tshiawelo in Soweto listens attentively as Nosipho Mashinini, an agent promoting the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, explains how the bus operation will make travel around Johannesburg easy.

Msimanga, 22, was one of hundreds of the township’s residents who yesterday visited the stand in the Protea Gardens Mall promoting the BRT system on behalf of the City of Johannesburg.

“I use a bus to get to work in Northgate,” he said.

“But buses run only during peak hours. The lady tells me BRT buses will run the whole day.

“With BRT buses I hope I will not have to worry about that since I am told it will run on a set schedule, even if I am the only passenger .”

Johannesburg will launch BRT on September 1.

The public transport system is made up of articulated (long) buses travelling on dedicated lanes, smaller feeder buses and minibus taxis.

It is aimed at revolutionising the public transport system by making travel easier and cheaper.

Lisa Seftel, executive director at the Johannesburg Metro council, outlined the schedule.

The first phase, which stretches from Regina Mundi in Soweto to Ellis Park, will be ready for operation on September 1, when 40 buses will start operating.

When fully operational, 143 buses would be on the roads.

A trip from anywhere in Soweto to Ellis Park will cost R5. Travel around Joburg will cost R3 a trip.

“ I pay R9 from Tshiawelo to Johannesburg. I don’t think there’s a taxi charging less than R5,” Msimanga said.

Seftel said seven stations had been handed over to the Johannesburg Metro Trading Company to operate until a proper company was established.

“We are waiting for the taxi industry to come on board so we can form a company. We will give them six months,” she said.


AUTHOR: Vusi Ndlovu
DATED: 6th August 2009