A pilot project introducing a single e-ticket for public transport users will soon be rolled out by the Gauteng Provincial Government.

A similar card-based pilot project was introduced in Pretoria last year by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) for minibus taxi commuters on the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Mabopane (JPM) route.

According to the province’s roads and transport department, the project will encompass all modes of public transport including taxis, buses and possibly trains. Plans are to launch the project in October.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi said the pilot project is one of the key deliverables of the 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25) to develop a fully integrated Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) System.

In order to facilitate the AFC system, Europay, MasterCard and Visa card compliance on all transport modes needs to be enabled so commuters are offered a prepaid product that allows for interoperability and integration.

Vadi said significant technical work with municipalities has already been done.

“Furthermore, the department is in the process of enabling online renewal of motor vehicle licences as well as launch an app to report and monitor potholes along the provincial roads,” he said. “This forms part of department’s proactive maintenance strategy of the road network.”

Transport budget and new developments

The department has been allocated R6.8 billion for the rollout of the project. The bulk of the allocation will go towards transport infrastructure (R1.9 billion), transport operations (R2.3 billion), transport regulation (R314 million), the Gautrain (R1.8 billion) and administration (R321 million).

The department said it also plans to improve road infrastructure through the construction of new roads and improve the maintenance of existing roads. This will include construction of the first new freeway in 40 years, the PWV15, which aims to reduce congestion and support the Aerotropolis development in Ekurhuleni.

“We will improve systems to ensure the speedy repair of potholes and the resurfacing of the road network. We will mobilise resources for road infrastructure in ways that will avoid the controversy linked to the e-tolls,” Vadi said. “There will be no e-tolls on our newly constructed freeways.”

The department recently completed 12 major road rehabilitation projects such as the N12, the R82 from Eikenhof to Walkerville and the N14. Work on the remaining section of the N14 is currently underway.

Transport investment

The department said it remains one of the key sources of funding for the Provincial Treasury. Over the past three years, it had collected motor vehicle and other licensing fees amounting to R9.6 billion.

In the past three years, the province has seen significant investment in roads and public transport infrastructure to support the economy, integrate fragmented urban form, improve quality of transport and reduce commuting times.

“The massive rollout of modernised public transport infrastructure such as the Gautrain rapid rail service, the slow but progressive expansion of metropolitan BRT services and the development of the Aerotropolis are examples of mega-projects that are gradually transforming our urban landscape and creating jobs,” Vadi said.

He added that despite the corporate governance challenges confronting the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the Metrorail revitalisation programme in the province has seen the introduction of 18 new trains on the Pienaarspoort-Pretoria corridor.

The also said the Gibela Rail Manufacturing Plant will be ready later this year.

Taxi disputes

Regarding taxi disruptions, Vadi said the department will continue to work with taxi operators to address issues relating to operating licenses.

“I wish to announce that I intend to institute extraordinary measures in terms of section 91 of the National Land Transport Act to close all ranks and routes registered in the name of NANDUWE and WATA in Soweto,” he said.

“The route dispute and resulting violent conflicts between these two associations have been ongoing and all efforts at resolving the said dispute, including the section 79 ruling of the Provincial Regulatory Entity, has not helped to stabilise transport operations in the area,” he added.

The provincial department has also discussed the ongoing violent conflicts between Uber/Taxify partners and metered taxi operators led by the Gauteng Metered Taxi Concerned Operators with the ministers of police and transport.

“Government as a whole is absolutely clear that unlawful and criminal acts of certain metered taxi operators will be dealt decisively,” Vadi said.