New metro rail plan mooted
Bus systems not profitable – Maimane
THE DA believes that to grow local economies, Metropolitan municipalities should run their own railway transport systems – a move they hope to pursue should they win the 2019 general elections.
Party leader Mmusi Maimane laid out this vision at the Freidrich Naumann Stiftung Transport and mobility summit at Ibhayi Town Lodge in Walmer last night.
Maimane said they would look into how cities could play a guiding and leading role in economic growth through rectifying the apartheid spatial planning.
“As part of our economic vision to de-concentrate the economy away from national players, why is it that we must maintain the status of Prasa [the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa]?
“It is about time that metros were allowed to provide passenger rail systems,” he said.
“Who elects Prasa? Nobody does. We must be able to own the transport system because people elect us.”
Maimane was addressing delegates who had attended the DA event during the day where issues such as the challenges and successes of the bus rapid transport system in Tshwane and Cape Town were discussed.
City of Cape Town transport and urban development portfolio head Brett Herron warned that cities which planned to proceed with an integrated bus system would have to commit to the financial implications as the systems mostly led to a loss.
“We were sold this model that the BRT would cover its own expenses, and what we had to do was replace all the public transport in the footprint.
“We had to build a trunk route and feeder services and replace all the transport systems so that you would get passengers onto your buses.”
Herron said they had initially been told the system would sustain itself.
“We were promised that this thing could break even but there is just no way that in our lifetime it’s going to break even, because you are going to change the structure of the city.
“You have to get on top of your finances, cities have to commit, and know what they are committing to in terms of financial contribution.
“With less money available to support the BRT we now have a minister of transport who is saying he is not even sure that we should be doing the BRT in the first place.”
Political head for roads and transport in Tshwane Sheila Senkubuge advised those in attendance to engage the taxi industry and even consider having them own the buses.
Port Elizabeth mayor Athol Trollip slammed public transport in South Africa, calling it chaotic.
“Spatial apartheid realities make it very difficult to have a proper transport system. It results in a disproportionate amount of spend for the poorest people who can afford the least on public transport,” he said.
WARM WELCOME: DA leader Mmusi Maimane arrives for his address at the Transport and Mobility Summit in Port Elizabeth