The much-awaited Rustenburg Rapid Transport (RRT) system is nearing completion, the municipality has said.
Municipal spokesperson David Magae said the municipality, after myriad challenges, was preparing to transform the city’s public transport sector.
He said: “With the planning processes that started in 2009, the RRT was envisaged to operate in 2015, while aiming to place Rustenburg as secondary city, at the forefront of transforming quality public transport and remains a key enabler for other strategic objectives such as densification, local economy through local content and jobs, and creating interest for private investment.
“To date, construction of the project’s road network, which has been completed, includes 25 kilometres of bus-ways running between two corridors [Corridor A – R104, Corridor B – R 510] and the CBD, with a total of 18 station sub-structures.
Included in the RRT road network is also a mix of the existing mixed traffic lanes which, as a direct result of the project, have been upgraded. Additionally, traffic signalling designed for the integrated bus service has been installed in all areas of construction. For pedestrians, 40km of non-motorised transport walkways and cycle lanes have been constructed in the greater Tlhabane region and the CBD he said.
He said this would ensure people access bus stops and stations with no hindrances and in a manner which encourages the use of public transport.
The RRT is expected to ferry 75,000 commuters daily when operating at optimum levels.
Magae said the municipality, as an implementing institution, had enjoyed the support of local taxi operators. “To date, we have entered into various milestone agreements with them, including a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing an interim bus operating company pending conclusion of negotiations, and the bus procurement framework.
“This support is critical to the life of the project as the RRT will make use of existing routes which have been used by the various taxi associations which will have [an] effect on the profitability of the taxi operations in the affected routes.
“The taxi associations have a full team of experts who advise and train them on their roles in transition into managing and running a bus-operating company. It is envisaged that the affected and eligible operators will cease their current taxi operations in favour of equity within the Bus Operating Companies that will run bus operations in areas and routes planned to be served by the RRT.”
Delays in launching the project was attributed to encountered litigation on a major infrastructure component, the central station, due to the town-planning process, complex and lengthy stakeholder engagements, as well as negotiations with the taxi industry, including their understanding and buy-in to the business proposals for bus operator contracts as well as community buy-in and support.
– African News Agency