|Innovative solutions to the challenges of hosting the Confederations Cup are unveiled almost daily, it seems. The latest is iTransie 2 Ellis Park, the City’s public transport scheme for the tournament.
It is aimed at cutting traffic during the event. Football fans will be ferried from four park and ride facilities to the stadium for matches, and back to their cars after the games.
A total of 77 buses, including Metrobus and private buses, and 470 taxis will be used as part of iTransie 2 Ellis Park.
“This transport contribution is a key component of the City of Joburg’s overall strategy to make the Confederations Cup a success and to showcase our readiness for 2010,” said the mayoral committee member for transport, Rehana Moosajee, at a media briefing on Thursday, 4 June.
“We have planned iTransie 2 Ellis Park to be simple, easy and safe. Park and rides will be guarded and well signposted.”
iTransie will complement the provincial transport programme, GauRide, which will shuttle people from across the province to Ellis Park. Similarly, Johannesburg fans wanting to travel to host stadiums in Bloemfontein, Rustenburg and Pretoria to watch other matches, will also benefit from GauRide.
Both iTransie 2 Ellis Park and GauRide are run in partnership with the taxi industry.
Moosajee emphasised that using public transport rather than driving to Ellis Park was a convenient option. “I call on all ticket holders to desist from trying to use their private cars and attempting to find parking in the vicinity of Ellis Park. Rather use the convenience of public transport.”
There are four park and ride zones to lower traffic volumes on routes leading to stadiums. Recently tested during the Soweto Derby between rival football giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, the zones are at Bez Valley Park, Nasrec Expo Centre, Wits West Campus and the Coca-Cola Dome.
The signs, installed on Joburg roads specifically for the tournament, will help people find their way to various facilities, including public viewing and park and ride zones.
“There are different types of signage; some are on the freeway and they will assist fans to find their way in and out of the city,” said Yolisa Mashilwane, the director of management support in the City’s transportation department.
“Some are general way-finding signs within the park and ride facilities and stadium precincts.”
The signage had been installed at strategic locations and intersections across the city, Mashilwane said. Signs would also direct people to crucial establishments such as hospitals.
The Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) will maintain a strong presence during the tournament, with 300 officers manning the park and rides and patrolling around Ellis Park.
JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said the unit was ready for the job. “We have worked all the strategies that have been approved by FIFA.”
“The City has hosted a number of international events quite successfully … We have no doubt our visitors will be entertained, and not only in the stadium.”
Johannesburg’s Ellis Park stadium is one of four venues in four cities chosen to host the football spectacular, which starts on 14 June and ends on 28 June. Ellis Park is billed to stage both the opening match, between hosts South Africa and Asian champions Iraq, and the final.
Mayathula-Khoza noted that the City was happy with the status of Ellis Park and the area around the stadium. “Ellis Park stadium and the precinct are complete; we are excited about that.
“The venue was refurbished for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup in 2010.
Moosajee said the City had decided to “align ourselves with national developments”. President Jacob Zuma indicated in his State of the Nation address on 3 June that negotiations with the taxi industry on the BRT would begin on 11 June under the stewardship of Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to empower the taxi industry and ensure that operators will be no worse off than when they were operating taxis,” Moosajee said, seeking to allay fears in the industry.
Moosajee said the City was pleased that the industry had agreed to join iTransie 2 Ellis Park and GauRide. “We hope that this partnership will be carried forward to the BRT and for transport provision for the 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢.”
The City is confident that the BRT will be fully complete by the end of August and that buses will be operating.