Experts in public transport attending the African Union of Public Transport (UATP) Workshop on Best Practice in Africa this morning reiterated that cities in Africa should integrate the different modes of transport – rail, buses, minibus-taxis, bicycles and walking lanes – to lure commuters from their private vehicles and to bring down the cost of public transport.

Research presented during the second day of the UATP Workshop, hosted by Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City of Cape Town’s transport authority, indicated that commuters want real-time information to plan their journeys and an integrated ticketing system across the different modes of transport and operators.
‘In June this year, TCT presented our Transport Development Index (TDI) – a baseline index for mobility and access across the modes and across all income groups. The results of this TDI – a world first – confirmed to us the urgency with which we need to work on lowering the cost of public transport and in integrating the different modes of transport across Cape Town,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
The TDI established that:
  • the majority of our residents in the low-income group are located in remote areas, meaning that there are those among us with a monthly household income of R3 200 and less who have to travel between 45 km to 70 km every day to get to work opportunities
  • Residents who fall within the low-income group either use public transport or walk to where they need to be
  • Low-income users spend, on average 45%, of their monthly household income on transport and in some parts of the city the household spend on transport is as high as 60% of their income
  • One of the highest priorities for public transport users was identified as ‘flexibility’, which indicates that there is not enough public transport and that integration between the different modes of transport (bus, rail and minibus-taxis) is poor
‘The TDI confirmed that we need to substantially reduce the cost of transport for the poorest amongst us and we need to improve capacity, frequency, choice and the integration of the public transport network,’ said Councillor Herron.
To address both the cost of public transport and the integration of modes, the City’s transport plans require TCT to act as the single authority over all road-based public transport. TCT is currently responsible for the planning and implementation of the MyCiTi bus rapid transit mode within our public transport network.
‘But in reality our MyCiTi footprint is still relatively small and we are carrying a small percentage of the city’s daily commuters. On the other hand, the Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) is providing a scheduled bus service to hundreds of thousands of daily commuters and does so under a month-to-month contract with the Western Cape Government. This is the obvious place to start to address modal fragmentation and the subsequent inconvenience and cost to our commuters. TCT should be the contracting authority for GABS since this will give us the opportunity and the responsibility to integrate and align GABS and MyCiTi services with each other and ultimately with Metrorail,’ said Councillor Herron.
The City submitted an application to the National Government for the assignment of the contracting authority function, in particular the assignment of the GABS subsidised and scheduled bus services contract, in October 2012.
‘Unfortunately we are still waiting for the Minister of Transport to respond. Once we have the assignment of the function, we will reassess the GABS routes and realign them so as to improve the service’s coverage and connectivity with other modes, set the service delivery standards, and introduce the myconnect ticketing system. With the integration of the MyCiTi, GABS and Metrorail services, our commuters will start to experience the flexibility; and with the roll-out of the myconnect ticketing system across the board, a trip becomes one journey with one fare regardless of transfers across different modes or services – and so we begin to drive down the cost of transport,’ said Councilor Herron.
The UATP Workshop will conclude on  22 October 2015, with the following highlights on the agenda:
  • The importance of electric buses in the sustainability of public transport – presented by Mr Steve Hedouin from the Volvo Bus Corporation Alternative fuels – presented by Mr Jonas Stromberg from Scania
  • Funding models for rail – presented by Mr Jack van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer from the Gautrein Management Agency
For more information about the UATP Workshop 2015 click here.