Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
12 Jul 2017
5:25 am

Tshwane to pay taxis to stop operating

Virginia Keppler

The city plans to compensate taxi operators to give up routes for its A Re Yeng bus service.

A taxi rank. Picture: Nigel Sibanda.

The City of Tshwane will soon be compensating taxi operators in Pretoria in full to ensure that routes currently used by taxis are cleared for A Re Yeng buses to reach full capacity and optimal usage to legitimise the resources that have already been spent on the service.

This means that taxi operators will be paid not to use certain roads, while the City of Tshwane will incur double costs to get the bus service operational – for the establishment of the service and keeping taxis off the bus routes.

The permanent compensation report will be presented at the next council meeting for approval and this will allow the taxi industry to clear the routes for A Re Yeng to ferry passengers into the CBD.

However, these buses are said to not only be inaccessible for many city residents and poor communities, but also too expensive.

MMC for roads and transport Sheila Lynn Senkubuge said the DA administration, under executive Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, was doing everything in its power to rectify poor planning at the hands of the previous administration in an effort to put A Re Yeng on a firm and sustainable footing.

“This is to ensure that A Re Yeng reaches those remote areas and townships where rapid transport is most needed, such as Kopanong, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve and other surrounding areas,” she said.

Senkubuge said it must be remembered that the A Re Yeng BRT service was one of many things that they inherited from the ANC administration.

She said despite it being a necessary project for cultivating an inclusive and well-connected Tshwane, it was marred by controversy owing to poor management of the service, into which billions of rands have already been ploughed for little return to residents and taxpayers.

“The service is unaffordable for Tshwane residents but the city has a plan to make it available to more people across the city – especially poorer people who don’t necessarily have access to transport in the inner city.”

She pointed out that they inherited the BRT rollout that was inadequately planned for since it was meant to serve the inner city area where people already had other public transport options.

“In order to make this service an alternative for commuters that have never had the pleasure of reliable public transport, the city will be rolling out BRT lite and buses that will be running through mixed traffic,” she said.

Senkubuge said the financial sustainability of the BRT would be achieved over a medium- to longterm period once the other phases are implemented.

The Belle Ombre Depot will accommodate 144 buses and is expected to be completed by September 30.

New distance-based fares will be charged on a straight-line distance that commuters travel. – virginiak@citizen.co.za