Harambee buses will run in Ekurhuleni soon
The latest bus rapid transit (BRT) service in Gauteng, the Harambee BRT in Ekurhuleni, will be opened officially in less than 62 days’ time. That’s according to the countdown clock on Harambee’s official website.
The company has 30 new, modern buses ready to link all nine of the towns in its purview, with the economic nodes of Boksburg, Kempton Park and Germiston especially key, but including important townships such as Tembisa and Vosloorus.
This is in line with Gauteng premier David Makhura’s pledge in his state of the province address last year, when he said that his administration had adopted a 25year integrated master plan that would focus on the development of an efficient, Gauteng-wide transport network to achieve, among other things, spatial transformation and inclusive growth. He also had high praise for Harambee’s first phase. According to Makhura, the province will invest about R500 million in the Harambee bus system over the next five years.
Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele said at the official launch of the Harambee BRT system in November last year that, as the heart of the manufacturing sector and gateway to the world’s transportation system, Ekurhuleni needed to be revamped to compete with other so-called airport cities globally.
Construction of the first phase is reaching completion. It is a 56km route that runs from Tembisa Hospital to Vosloorus via Isando, Kempton Park, OR Tambo International Airport and Boksburg.
A connection node will be built between Ivory Park and Tembisa to connect Harambee with the Rea Vaya BRT system. This development is in line with Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi’s budget speech for the 2015/16 financial year, in which he said that the Gauteng government would manage several massive transport and infrastructure projects over the next few years.
These included Harambee, as well as the further rollout of Rea Vaya in Johannesburg and the A Re Yeng bus service in Tshwane. Other projects include:
The aerotropolis project around OR Tambo International Airport;
The further development of the Gautrain rail network;
The development of a new cargo and logistics centre, known as the Tambo-Springs inland port; and
The recapitalisation of Metrorail. These projects, according to Vadi, are expected to collectively create more than 500 000 jobs during their construction phases and after their completion.
They will also produce economic growth, especially in Ekurhuleni, and pave the way for the transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation of the Gauteng economy.
Vadi said plans were also in place for the extension of the Gautrain to link Tshwane and Ekurhuleni with Lanseria International Airport.
Along with this, Metrorail’s operations in Gauteng would be expanded over the next decade, with the purchase of new trains to modernise the rail service and integrate it with the bus rapid transit systems and the Gautrain.
The province would also spend billions to rehabilitate key arterial roads, such as the N12 and R14 highways, which would not be tolled, unlike many of the other upgraded Gauteng freeways.