Cape Town - Commuters' interests need
to be placed above those of transport providers, in terms of the
revised National Development Plan (NDP) tabled in Parliament on
According to the document it is crucial
to strengthen governance and efficiency of the urban transport
"Nowhere is this more evident than
in the bus rapid transport system, which has demonstrated the
potential of high-quality mass transit systems while also showing it
is critically important to align social interests with technical
The Johannesburg bus rapid transit
project incorporated taxi owners - a milestone in formalising the
taxi industry as a transport operator.
"During 2011, however, striking
drivers halted this transport system. As public transport must be
dependable, authorities will have to create reliable services by
placing commuters' interests above the sectarian concerns of
transport providers, while also allowing these services to be
economically sustainable businesses," it says.
Fixing problems with bus systems is a
priority given the significant financial and spatial investments made
to date, and the potential such a system represents for qualitatively
better public transport.
Devolving transport management to local
government would help align the fragmented and conflicting interests
of multiple transport authorities, each with separate funding sources
However, handing responsibility for
transport to municipal authorities will only succeed if it is
accompanied by strengthening institutions and alignment of
legislation, policy and practice.
On incentives for public-transport use,
the document says public-transport subsidies will increase
affordability for low-income commuters.
Mounting costs for private car users
(tolls and projected higher fuel costs), together with prioritising
the flow of public transport vehicles on roads, might encourage
motorists to use public transport.
Public-transport solutions should
extend services to captive transport users while winning custom from
those who have options. This will require a public transport system
that has the capacity, frequency, coverage, and safety performance
required to compete with the benefits of having a privately owned
The Gautrain has shown public transport
is an option for commuters who can afford to use cars. But, even with
greatly expanded public transport, city dwellers will still use cars.
Transport authorities will need to plan
and invest in road and transport infrastructure construction,
maintenance, and oversight, and integration with public services,
while using technology, such as intelligent traffic signalling, to
maximise traffic flow.
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