All the relevant municipalities, including small authorities and metropolitan municipalities, have agreed to the establishment of the GautengÂ TransportÂ Commission, which would now officially become operational on March 31, Gauteng Roads andÂ TransportÂ MEC DrÂ Ismail VadiÂ said on Thursday.
Speaking at aÂ TransportÂ Forum meeting, inÂ Johannesburg, Vadi said the commission, which would act as a â€œtransitional phaseâ€ on the road to establishing a fully fledgedtransportÂ authority, was established following consultation with various stakeholders.
â€œThis took time, I thought it would take three months, but it took a year,â€ he said.
Included in theÂ TransportÂ Commission Agreement was the Gauteng Department of Roads andÂ Transport, the three metropolitan municipalities ofÂ Johannesburg,TshwaneÂ andÂ Ekurhuleni, as well as the seven local municipalities ofÂ Emfuleni,Â Lesedi,Â Midvaal,Â Randfontein, Westonaria,Â MerafongÂ andÂ Mogale.
An advisory panel ofÂ transportÂ specialists, which had â€œjust about been establishedâ€, would further support the commission, Vadi stated.
â€œRail is going to be one of the major features ofÂ transportÂ change and development in future,â€ Vadi said, adding that it was, however, difficult to devolve Gautengâ€™s railÂ systemÂ â€“ which, in effect, meant handing it over from the Passenger Rail Agency ofÂ South AfricaÂ (Prasa) to local municipalities â€“ as there were three dominant municipalities in Gauteng.
He stated that the commission would be able to assist in this regard as it included all the municipalities in its decision-making.
However, also speaking at the forum Prasa strategic asset management executive managerÂ Dries van der WaltÂ said it would not be handing over its planning function completely.
â€œPrasa supports the principle of aÂ transportÂ authority and the principle of a singleÂ transportÂ authority for Gauteng, but this will not negate Prasaâ€™s need to engage at a local-authority level,â€ he stated.
Meanwhile, the commission would also focus on the promotion, coordination and support of standardised intelligentÂ transportÂ systems, such asÂ systemsÂ in support of integrated ticketing and fare management.
â€œThere is a lot of movement of people between the different municipalities and, therefore, an integratedsystemÂ is needed,â€ Vadi said.
Further, the commission would also promote and support the integration and alignment of bus rapidtransportÂ (BRT)Â systems, while also supporting sustainableÂ transportÂ options, including nonmotorisedtransport.
He stated that moving away from cars as the primary mode ofÂ transportÂ would become more and more necessary as the pressure on the road network was expected toÂ increase.
Gauteng’s 25-year IntegratedÂ TransportÂ Master Plan leader andÂ GautrainÂ Management Agency CEOJack van der MerweÂ said if current trends continued, the weighted peak hour road network speed would reduce from 48 km/h to below 10 km/h over the next 25 years, as peak-hour person trips were expected to grow from 2.2-million to 3.9-million.
â€œMajor interventions and management of travel choices and demand will be required to avoid this scenario,â€ he said.
Vadi pointed out that travel demand management would be another of the commissionâ€™s focus areas, adding that options, such as businesses opening earlier or later would have to be considered.
During 2014, the commission would specifically focus on the roll-out and integration of BRT infrastructure, rail infrastructure development and integration, and the promotion of nonmotorisedtransport.