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2008-10-07: Johannesburg's Rea Vaya project an environmental first

THE Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is the single largest climate change initiative ever undertaken by the City of Johannesburg and represents a major turning point in how the City deals with congestion, pollution and greenhouse gases as a result of transportation.

"Rea Vaya offers an alternative form of public transport - fast, convenient, safe and affordable. This will hopefully persuade people to switch their mode of transport away from private motor vehicles and ultimately help to alleviate congestion in and around the City," says Rehana Moosajee, the City's MMC for Transportation.

Furthermore, by replacing poor quality buses running on poor quality fuel with Rea Vaya's brand-new fleet of buses, which will run on low-sulphur diesel and the most advanced pollution reduction equipment, air quality will be dramatically improved.  

Moosajee adds that an extensive study conducted to determine the implications that Rea Vaya will have on green house gas emissions and the environment supports the implementation of the system.

"This detailed, on-the-ground analysis of passenger traffic conducted along the major trunk routes of the Rea Vaya corridor revealed an expected saving of 382,940 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions as a result of the implementation of the Rea Vaya system by 2010. Operation of a Rea Vaya system through 2020 is estimated to save 1.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions," she says. 

Additionally, by using Rea Vaya's "green" buses Nitrous Oxides will be reduced by thousands of tons per year and particulate matter, the most dangerous vehicular emission to human health, by hundreds of tons annually.

On 15 October the City will host Environmental Transport Day to highlight these environmental issues and to promote its ridesharing programme.  

"Sharing cars to take a journey means less traffic congestion, cleaner air, less global warming pollution and reduced fuel consumption. We are also keen to demonstrate the principal of 60 cars and their passengers being equal to one bus, as a way to cut traffic," says Moosajee. 

About Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system
Rea Vaya, which means "We are Going" in Sotho, offers three inter-connected levels of service. The largest buses with a capacity of up to 90 passengers will be articulated and are referred to as the Trunk buses. These buses will only travel on the designated median lane trunk routes.

Complementary buses which will be able to pick up passengers at Rea Vaya stations on the trunk routes and will also be able to operate on the kerbside, will have a capacity of 60 passengers.

Finally the Feeder buses, which have a capacity of 32 passengers, will bring people from the outer areas which don't have direct access to the trunk routes. This will extend Rea Vaya's network to areas far beyond the main trunk routes.  When complete, Rea Vaya will cover more than 300km's of trunk routes across the city.

In the Phase 1 network, buses will run in exclusive, dedicated lanes in the centre of existing roads and will operate from about 150 stations, positioned half a kilometre apart. They will run every three minutes in peak times and every 10 minutes in off-peak times and it will be possible to catch a bus from 5am to midnight.

One of the most important aspects of this new system is that it will be fully integrated with other transport networks. Rea Vaya will not be competing with other transport systems such as the SARCC or the Gautrain. This is an urban transport network that will feed into and complement existing networks to ensure the most effective movement of people across the city.