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THE integration of Rea Vaya with the Gautrain and Metrorail at Park Station in downtown Joburg is expected to enhance public transport in the city.

Growth and Development Strategy 2040: TransportPassengers are now able to transfer from one to the other to get to their destinations more quickly, more efficiently and with less hassle. They can now catch the Gautrain from Pretoria, Sandton and Rosebank stations to Park Station, and then a Rea Vaya bus to the CBD, Braamfontein, Ellis Park and Soweto.

"People disembarking from Gautrain can use Rea Vaya from Park Station to get them to other areas not covered by the Gautrain. These areas include the main stadiums of the city, Ellis Park and FNB Stadium," said Rea Vaya's operations director, Jeff Ngcobo.

Rea Vaya was launched in August 2009. The bus system consists of 325 kilometres of special public transport lanes and intersections running north and south of the city. It links townships and suburbs with the inner city.

The Gautrain made its first trip on its final leg to Park Station on Thursday, 7 June. The rapid rail link departs Rosebank Station, and takes a super-fast three minutes and 20 seconds to reach Park Station. Gautrain's Park Station was supposed to open in 2011, but the opening was delayed because water was found to be seeping into the tunnel.

Ngcobo added that the integration of the nodes would be convenient for people going to work during peak times in the morning and returning in the late afternoon.

Last month Rea Vaya improved and increased its services by opening four new stations in the inner city and introducing an express service during peak times.

One of the new stations is on Rissik Street, right next to the Gautrain and the Metrorail stations at Park Station, forming an integrated transport hub. This means that commuters are now able to travel comfortably between Pretoria and Soweto or between OR Tambo International Airport and Soweto, in an hour or less during peak time.

Long distance travelling will also be easier, as people disembarking private transport systems can use Rea Vaya to connect to areas that it services.

Four Rea Vaya stations were opened recently: Basothong Station at Selby South, serving the T1 and C1 routes; Rissik Street Station, serving the T1 route via the Civic Centre and the C3 route; Harrison Street Station, serving the T1 route via the Civic Centre and the C3 route; and Park Station, serving the T1 route via the Civic Centre and the C3 route.

With the opening of these stations, Rea Vaya extended its T1 route, the first trunk route. Work is steaming ahead on its phase 1B, its second trunk route.

Passengers travelling from Thokoza Park to Park or Rissik Street stations pay R7,30 and those connecting via feeders pay R10,50 in the morning during peak hour. Those travelling from Constitution Hill to Thokoza Park via Park and Harrison Street stations pay R7,30 and R10,50 for passengers who connect through feeder routes.
At the moment, Rea Vaya and Gautrain have a separate ticketing system, and passengers wanting to use both have to buy separate tickets.

For a quicker trip from Park Station to the CBD, commuters are advised to take the C3 south bound. It is available every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off peak hours. Rea Vaya is safe and its stations are monitored by closed circuit television, to provide commuters with peace of mind.