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​The major role that Joburg played in the conceptualisation and implementation of its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system was acknowledged at the general session of the 2012 American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) annual meeting in Seattle last week.
The MMC for Transport, Clr Rehana Moosajee, was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the conference, during which she related how apartheid’s segregated town planning had led to the majority of the population paying more than 10% of their income on transport.
Moosajee, who was appointed to the transport portfolio in 2006 by then Johannesburg Executive Mayor Amos Masondo, spoke about the challenges faced by the City in creating an efficient public transport system. She related how city officials had to bring three rival taxi operating companies together and to work in unison for the bus operating company to be formed. This wasn’t an easy task considering that they would not meet the MMC together, but only separately due to their differences.
The BRT had to be constructed, implemented and run from scratch ahead of South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In creating a lasting legacy for Joburg’s residents the BRT carried a million soccer fans to and from the stadia with impressive reviews from park and ride users. It now carries a million passengers a month to their workplaces and is still expanding its services.
Moosajee also participated in a programme at the conference that delved into public transport and mega events such as the Soccer World Cup. She also shared her knowledge and experience in a session held on the role of women in public transport.
At the end of the conference, APTA President and CEO, Michael Melaniphy, released a statement thanking Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Clr Parks Tau, for his endorsement of Moosajee’s participation. “Her speech both informed and inspired public transit officials who represented the many cities of North America. It was particularly inspiring to learn about the important role that public transportation is playing in the transformation of Johannesburg as it confronts its past and looks towards its future,” said Melaniphy.
APTA is a non-profit international association of 1500 public and private sector organisations engaged in various modes of transport.
Through its 2040 Vision, Johannesburg sees itself becoming a “pedestrian-and public transport-oriented city”. The creation of a green, eco-friendly and sustainable public transport system is a key consideration for the BRT system. Joburg is the country’s key transportation node and the City is committed to continue to develop its public transport system.
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