7 April 2011
Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, Rea Vaya, has had a significant impact on job creation and income generation for its shareholders and the community in general, bus operating company PioTrans said on Tuesday.
“The City of Johannesburg entered into a partnership with the taxi industry to create an operating company called PioTrans,” director of corporate affairs Eric Motshwane said in a statement.
“More than 200 drivers that are currently being employed by PioTrans are thus sharing in the success and growth of the Bus Rapid Transit system.”
Former taxi owners received shares in PioTrans, which is responsible for the management of Rea Vaya in terms of a 12-year operating contract.
The first phase of Rea Vaya, linking Soweto to Johannesburg’s central business district, was completed in April 2010.
The next stage, extending Rea Vaya into Johannesburg’s northern and western suburbs, was expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“While commuters enjoy the comfort and safety of the modern new buses, Rea Vaya is proving to be a boon to the drivers and support staff who keep the system running,” Motshwane said.
Training and education were also key ingredients to the successful conversion from taxi drivers to the operators of Rea Vaya buses.
Drivers were being trained at the company’s depot in Dobsonville.
“The training was important because it stressed the fact that we should treat our passengers with dignity and respect.”
Motshwane said Rea Vaya was an important source for future employment, especially to former taxi drivers.
“As the network expands to eventually cover the entire Johannesburg, more buses with more drivers and more support staff will be required.”