City of Johannesburg (CoJ) Transport MMC Funzi Ngobeni has signed three key agreements which pave the way for the operation of Rea Vaya Phase 1C route that will connect Phase 1A and 1B from the Johannesburg central business district to Alexandra, Greenstone and Sandton.
The introduction of Rea Vaya Phase 1C will provide safe, affordable and reliable transport to the residents of Berea, Yeoville, Orange Groove, Cheldondale, Norwood, Balfour Park, Bramley, Wynberg, Alexandra, Marlboro, Athol, Sandton, Sandown, Longmeadow and Greenstone. The service is expected to start operating before the end of June.
"The agreements are significant because they open the way for the formation of a new bus operating company that will oversee the day-to-day management and service operations of the assigned 141 low-entry buses for the Rea Vaya Phase 1C routes," says Ngobeni.
The agreements were entered into between the CoJ transport department and its new partners the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) and the Alexandra Taxi Association (Ata), he adds.
"The agreements signed include compensation for economic loss, bus operating company formation and participation agreements."
According to these agreements, the Armsta and Ata will be compensated for removing their minibus taxis from operation, and thereafter will agree to no longer operate any type of taxi-related service along the new route set to be used by the newly formed bus company, says Ngobeni.
The agreements allow the CoJ to remove 940 minibus taxis from the Phase 1C route. Depending on their age and condition, some vehicles will be scrapped, while newer vehicles will be sold. This will ultimately lead to the cancellation of all operating licences attached to the affected taxis.
“The city is transforming the taxi industry through Section 41 of the National Land Transport Act, which promotes economic empowerment while restructuring transport operators to discourage monopolies and therefore seeing the realisation of the owners of the affected minibus taxis becoming shareholders and manage Rea Vaya buses through a registered company,” says Ngobeni.
The soon-to-be-formed bus operating company will come into full effect once the bus operating company agreement has been entered into between the city and the affected taxi industry, following a public participation process that is currently under way.