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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

New Rea Vaya route will remove 940 taxis off Joburg roads

Taxi associations have welcomed the move, saying they've been waiting years for the deal with COJ to be finalised.

The City of Johannesburg (COJ) has signed three key agreements to add new Rea Vaya bus routes from the city centre to Alexandra and Sandton.

The new route will connect Phase 1A and 1B from the Johannesburg CBD to Alexandra, Greenstone and Sandton.

The city’s new partnership with the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (ARMSTA) and the Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) is significant because it essentially removes 940 mini bus taxis of the roads, paving the way for new industry players.

“The agreements allow the City to remove 940 minibus taxis from the Phase 1C(a) route. Depending on their age and condition, some vehicles will be scrapped while newer vehicles will be sold,” said COJ’s MMC for transport Funzi Ngobeni.

“This will ultimately lead to the cancellation of all operating licenses attached to the affected taxis,” added Ngobeni.

Both taxi associations have welcomed the move saying they’ve waited years to finally sign on the dotted line.

“This is a great milestone for the association,” said Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association Secretary Leonard Molepo.

“Negotiations started in 2013 and a lot of people were involved, some of whom have died over the years and never lived to see this milestone,” Molepo said.

“This is something very good for the taxi association because we are part of the Rea Vaya operating company,” said Alexandra Taxi Association Secretary Gabriel Mataboge.

Mataboge said removing mini-bus taxis from the road would also assist in easing some of the traffic congestion.

The City is attempting to transform the taxi industry through section 41 of the National Land Transport Act 5 of 2009, which promotes economic empowerment while restructuring transport operators.

The move aims to disband monopolies, but owners of the affected minibus taxis will be integrated into operations through shareholdings and management of Rea Vaya buses through a registered company.

The new operator is expected to oversee the day-to-day management and service operations of the assigned 141 low entry buses for the Rea Vaya Phase 1C (a) routes.

The signed contracts include compensation for economic loss and bus operating company formation and participation agreements. 

“According to these agreements, the ARMSTA and ATA associations will be compensated for removing their mini-bus taxis from the operation and thereafter will agree to no longer operate any type of taxi-related service along the new route set to be used by the newly formed bus company.

The soon-to-be-formed bus operating company is expected to come into full effect once the Bus Operating Company Agreement has been entered into between the City and the affected Taxi Industry, following a public participation process that is currently underway.

Rea Vaya Phase 1C will provide transport services to Berea, Yeoville, Orange Groove, Cheldondale, Norwood, Balfour Park, Bramley, Wynberg, Alexandra, Marlboro, Athol, Sandton, Sandown, Longmeadow and Greenstone.

The service is expected to start operating before the end of June 2022. 

NOW READ: Rea Vaya bus services suspended in Joburg as looting, lawlessness spreads

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