Government has made significant strides in public transportÂ infrastructuredevelopment, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
“These strides are changing the way commuters find their way around our major centres for work and leisure, and are creating certainty for workers and employers who rely on predictable, safe and comfortable public transport as a means to support productivity,” said Minister Peters on Tuesday.
Minister Peters was speaking at a post State of the Nation Address media briefing by the Economic Sectors and Employment and Infrastructure Cluster in Cape Town.
“Our primary modes of public transport are passenger trains, buses and mini-bus taxis. We have made progress in achieving our policy objectives of an Integrated Public Transport Network through the introduction of BusRapid Transit systems in several cities,” she said.
In Johannesburg, the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system has been in operation since 2010 and currently it is transporting more than 40 000 people a day, while the MyCiti Bus Rapid Transit system in Cape Town – which has been in operation since 2011 – is currently transporting more than 10 000 people daily.
The City of Tshwane has started with the construction of Phase 1 of A Re Yeng, which is 35km long from Rainbow Junction in the north, through the central business district, all the way to Menlyn in the East.
In the North West, Rustenburg has so far built 8km of BRT, while in KwaZulu-Natal, the City of eThekwini has started with the construction of 18km of road from Inanda to Pinetown.
In Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, the Ibhongo Lethu system already operates 25 buses and 15 more kilometres of road is being completed from the city centre to Cleary Park.
Minister Peters said the remaining five cities of Polokwane, Mangaung, Mbombela, Msunduzi and Ekurhuleni are finalising their operational plans and designs.
Government has begun to invest billions of rands in new rolling stock, infrastructure upgrades and the building of new depots.
“As rail is the backbone of our future public transport system, government will over the next few years invest more than R50 billion in passenger rail infrastructure and services.
“Over the next 20 years, PRASA will implement the New Rolling Stock Acquisition Programme, which will transform and modernise passenger rail to ensure safe and reliable passenger service,” she said.
Minister Peters said the first set of new trains from this programme will start operating in 2015.
“In 2006, we commenced with the construction of the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link connecting Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg.
“The current daily passenger trip number stands at more than 50 000 on weekdays. We have plans to expand Gautrain to the eastern and western extremes of Gauteng,” she said.
Before 1994, the National Department of Transport was responsible for a road network of less than 530km.
However, in 1998, government established the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) to manage the national road asset and is now managing over 19 700km.
Over the last five years, Sanral awarded contracts worth R49 billion for new works, rehabilitation and improvement, and various maintenance cycles.
The agency also spent a total of R12 billion on contracts with small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), of which more than R8.9 billion went to 5 494 black enterprises.
Through its skills development programme, the agency trained 72 064 people in road-building projects at a cost of about R112 million, with 23 200 women being trained in the process.
During the peak of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project construction phase approximately 20 000 jobs were created.
With regard to aviation, Minister Peters said: “We have invested billions of rands to ensure that our country has world-class airports that can help realise South Africa’s full economic potential.
“Between 2006 and 2010 the AirportsÂ CompanyÂ of South Africa (Acsa) invested R17 billion in airport infrastructure upgrades, including the addition of the new King Shaka International Airport in Durban, and the OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports.”