Through its Tshwane Growth and Development Strategy 2055 (Tshwane 2055), the City of Tshwane aims to create a high-quality, balanced public transport system, executive director of strategy development and implementation Msizi Myeza noted during a stakeholder consultation forum at the Wonderboom National Airport in September.
The event was organised to discuss the transport strategy that formed part of the broader Tshwane 2055 strategy.
Myeza said the strategy was a means of kick-starting the development of a long-term transport strategy for and tackling the health, poverty and unemployment challenges facing the city.
It would analyse the extent of the challenges, including weaknesses and threats, facing the city, such as urbanisation, resource security (water and energy), underdevelopment and inequality.
“Opportunities, assets and strengths exist in the city. We have a strong knowledge and science base, economic infrastructure and investment potential. We also have urban agriculture potential and a concentration of academic institutions. We have to ensure that we capitalise on our resources,” Myeza stated.
He stressed that now was the time to start dealing with the challenges facing the city.
Myeza pointed out that Tshwane’s transport challenges included poor land development patterns, uncoordinated and nonintegrated public transport systems, overcrowded public transport facilities and traffic congestion that led to travel and logistics delays, higher fuel consumption and accidents.
He said there were plans to simplify the city’s public transport network and modernise its infrastructure. Other considerations included the continuous creation of transit-orientated development and the development of an integrated and environment-friendly transport system.
City of Tshwane director of traffic engineering and operations Hilton Vorster added that transport had a major impact on the spending habits of residents. He believed the challenge for Tshwane was the increased migration of people looking for refuge or asylum, which contributed to urban sprawl and traffic congestion.
“Gauteng has challenges, such as long travelling distances and commuter times, as well as expensive road transport costs with the cost of petrol increasing. Investment in mass public transport needs to be scaled up and the [province] needs continual political commitment and future financial sustain- ability for the implementation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system,” he noted.
Further, there should be more focus on improving nonmotorised transport infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, stated Vorster, adding that pedestrians killed in Tshwane represent more than 40% of road fatalities.
Vorster emphasised that the city needed to create a competitive transport sector and economy, as well as develop a transport master plan to support urban development.
Meanwhile, Forum for Transformation in Transport representative Paul Browning proposed a new transport project that would involve the corporatisation of minibus taxi operations.
He said the advantages of this would be professional management, safer operations and legal compliance, as well as diversification into other business areas.
“The main challenge, however, is that taxi operators will want to know how government will guarantee that they will not lose out. The solution to this would be to develop a compensation model to incorporate into contracts. It is required for BRT systems, so the same formula can be used,” he noted.