5 November 2008
A prototype bus station for Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, known as Rea Vaya, has been unveiled at the Joubert Park Busway in the inner city, and will now be up for public scrutiny to determine whether any improvements can be made.
The system, once complete, will feature dedicated and segregated bus-only lanes, as well as bus stations that are safe, comfortable, weather-protected and equipped to deal with disabled passengers.
BRT systems combine the best features of rail together with the flexibility and cost advantages of road-based transport, and have the added advantage of being easier and faster to build than a light rail transport system.
Two million bus trips
Speaking at the launch of the prototype station in Johannesburg this week, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe highlighted that the BRT system was crucial to a success of South Africa’s transport system as a whole.
“Around two million bus trips are made every day in South Africa, comprising only 30% of transport undertaken in the country on a daily basis,” he said. “This is the first example of the BRT system in South Africa, and this station signals that we are making substantial implementation progress.”
Radebe added that there would be BRT buses running from Alexandra to Roodepoort and from Soweto to Sunninghill within a year.
In the first phase of BRT, buses will be running to 150 stations positioned half a kilometre from each other. The buses will run every three minutes during peak times, and every 10 minutes in off-peak times, running for 18 hours a day from 5am to midnight every day.
Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo said the station was the first visible milestone that the transport project was becoming a reality for South Africans.
“The upgrade of our transport system will lead to far less congestion on our roads and will bring a fast, efficient, safe, affordable and accessible mode of transport to Gauteng,” Masondo said. “The stations will all be built the same, out of concrete, steel and glass, due to the cost-affordability.”
“The platforms cost R10-million each and take eight weeks to construct.”