The Committee received briefings from various cities on the progress they had made with the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. They focused mainly on the challenges which they were experiencing, such as delays in regulatory approvals, construction running behind schedule, escalations in implementation costs and the associated strain on finances, and difficult negotiations with taxi organisations, bus companies and service providers. Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality had not been able to implement the BRT due to a challenge against its award to a service provider by the losing bidder, which had resulted in a protracted court case.
Nelson Mandela Bay said there was a need to recommission the Integrated Transport Operational Centre in order to monitor the system. Other initiatives included improving its marketing and communications plans, reducing operations and responding to demand. It stressed that there was a need to look at the resource requirements for the implementation of the project, and to improve negotiation strategies with operators.
The other cities highlighted that their projects had been planned in order to reduce road congestion over peak hours through applying public transport efficiencies and reducing travel peaks. The BRT would provide greater travel opportunities and certainty through a scheduled, integrated and expanded system which would enable commuters to shift from private cars to public transport, particularly with the residential and Central Business District (CBD) distribution systems. This would also lead to a reduction in collisions and road fatalities, particularly those involving pedestrians, with the provision of safe footpaths and crossings. Various ticketing options were being considered, including accommodating other bus companies in the fare system, extending it to other public transport modes, such as rail, and integrating with minibus taxis.
Members expressed concern about the delays that had been encountered in the Buffalo City project, as it was supposed to have started in the 2008/09 financial year. They also questioned whether funds allocated by Treasury for the project had been returned. They were pleased with the progress that had been made by Nelson Mandela Bay, as it had been well thought out and well planned. They wanted to find out how Nelson Mandela Bay had managed to negotiate successfully with taxi drivers to be part of the project, as this seemed to be the major challenge in other cities. They were impressed by the way the routes had been designed in Nelson Mandela Bay to be circular, so that passengers were easily and effectively moved around to various destinations. This was in complete contrast to the design in Msunduzi Municipality, where the design of the routes reproduced the spatial inequalities created under apartheid.
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) said it had noted the discussions that had unfolded in the two days of presentations, and the concerns that had been flagged by both the cities and Members. It was clear from the presentations that the cities had pursued fundamentally different BRT models. There was agreement that SALGA would facilitate an engagement with the Committee over the importance of a subsidised public transport system, which would be focused on reduced traveling times, spatial transformation and addressing the apartheid geography.
City of Ekurhuleni: Briefing
Ms Lusanda Madikizela, Head of Transport, Ekurhuleni, indicated that the project would cover nine towns, 17 townships, 8 000 industries and 3.1 million people. The approved full Phase One would run from Tembisa in the north to Vosloorus in the south. The, trunk section of Phase One runs from Tembisa Civic Centre in the north, Rhodesfield in the south via Zuurfontein Rd, C R Swart Drive and Pretoria Road. A northern complementary (trunk extension) service would operate from Tembisa Hospital and integrate with the trunk at Tembisa Civic. A southern complementary route would peel off the trunk route and continue south down Zuurfontein Road into Isando. The project was directly linked to investment in infrastructure that supported the country’s economic and social objectives, the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the National Development Plan (NDP) and the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Ms Madikizela said that 96% of the allocated budget had already been spent on the project. The spending was still a challenge, although there had been a significant improvement due to improved planning. The city was particularly concerned that the grant allocation had been reduced in the 2016/17 financial year. The Trunk Route from Section 1-3 (Tembisa Civic centre to R25) which was part of Phase 1A, had already been completed. Five of the nine BRT stations were under construction. The appointment of a contractor would be completed and the remaining four BRT stations were being finalised.
Harambee had been planned as a high-quality bus rapid transit system to provide reliable and convenient public transport, improved urban infrastructure, reduced carbon emissions and improved socio-economic development. The Harambee system was not currently operational but was expected to improve traffic flow due to the clearance of minibus taxis and the expected modal shift by private vehicle users. The project was expected to create 285 unskilled jobs, and 17 bus drivers had already been appointed. The challenges that had been faced included delays during construction, escalation in implementation costs and delays in regulatory approvals. There had also been delays in the negotiations with taxi industry and the procurement of service providers. The Boksburg Bus Company (BBC) and the Ekurhuleni Bus Service were accommodated in the current fare system. The system would be extended to other public transport modes, and the integration with minibus taxis was currently being investigated.
City of Mbombela: Briefing
The Mbombela representative said that the Mbombela Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) was conceptually based on effectively integrating existing bus and minibus taxi (MBT) systems on an equitable basis, reflecting a real relative market share, and then responding to the demand for an efficient public transport system. The aim was also to extend feeder services deeper into the semi-rural communities, and reduce walking distances and overall travel times. The key objective of the Mbombela spatial development plan was to redress the apartheid legacy. Public transport planning and the IPTN were specifically designed to support these changes.
The fundamental principles of the project were to establish a common subsidisation regime in a new public transport contracting dispensation through gross contracts, negotiated contracts and provision of transport services. The project would operate, based on an agreed per km rate and provide an opportunity for all existing operators to participate. The project would utilise existing fleets -- both buses and MBTs. The project would begin with a pilot project along Legogote Corridor.
The rollout of the IPTN plan supported the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP-2030), so that by 2030 the investments in the transport sector would bridge geographic distances affordably, faster, reliably and safely, so that all South Africans could access previously inaccessible economic opportunities, social spaces and services. The aim was also to promote a low-carbon economy by offering transport alternatives that minimised environmental harm. In the roll-out of the MIPTN, the municipality had ensured that 30% of sub-contracting work went to small black-owned enterprises on all infrastructure projects being implemented, as clearly stated and committed to in the State of Nation Address by the State President.
Expenditure on the project so far was R635 million, and the city was planning to use R212 million in the 2017/18 financial year. The operational plan was 85% completed, the business plan was 90% completed, while the infrastructure planning was 90% completed. The Tekwane North to Msogwaba PT Route, the Kaapschehoop road widening, and the construction of the Karino intersection had all been completed.
The MIPTN modeling reflected a total number of weekly passenger trip/kms at 14 724 490, translating into 765 million passenger trip/kms per annum. The project planned to reduce road congestion over peak hours through applying public transport efficiencies and reducing travel peaks, and also to provide greater travel opportunities and certainty, through a scheduled, integrated and expanded system. The system would promote and enable a shift from private cars to public transport, particularly with the residential and central business district (CBD) distribution systems. It would support a reduction in collisions and road fatalities, particularly pedestrians, through integration with and investments in non-motorised transport, specifically providing pedestrian footpaths and safe crossings.
The city was still modeling fare revenue to cover about 30-32% of the total revenue requirement. Mbombela IPTN was in a unique position, as the established bus industry currently operating under the Public Transport Operation Grant (PTOG) reflected close to 80% of the existing bulk commuter services, with MBTs accounting for approximately 20% of these services. The participation of the industry in the MIPTN planning and negotiation process had been challenging and had been the key factor in most of the programme delays. The bus industry (Buscor) had not participated effectively to-date, arguably frustrating and delaying the implementation - it was understood that there was resistance due to concerns about the impact on their existing business model. There had been no delays in the procurement of vehicles, as operators would be using their own vehicles.
City of Ethekwini: Briefing
Ms Mabuyi Mhlanga, Programme Manager: Ethekwini Transport Authority, said that the city was still to finalise the full implementation of the BRT. The eThekwini Transport Authority had recently held a ground-breaking workshop which was well attended by automotive industry stakeholders. The workshop was a significant move ahead of major tenders being advertised for the procurement of buses for the new GO!Durban Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN). It was part of the network’s endeavour to encourage meaningful transformation and renew manufacturing in this sector in the city. The workshop aimed to enlighten stakeholders on GO!Durban’s progress and the government policies in relation to the procurement of fleet that would be required for this new network. Recent changes in procurement legislation that had been introduced by national and local government, prioritizing localisation, had been presented. The industry had been encouraged to look at creative ways to work together to achieve true and meaningful transformation in this sector.
Ms Mhlanga highlighted that round 200 rigid buses, 180 articulated buses and 765 midi-buses would be required for the new system over the next five years. In addition, 250 commuter buses would be required as part of the replacement programme for the existing City Public Transport contracts. The bus delivery timeline was estimated for the second half of 2018, and a first tranche of R1.2 billion was planned for the fleet for the C3 route, which runs from Pinetown through New Germany and KwaDabeka to Bridge City, KwaMashu. The City would be advertising these tenders within the next few weeks, and because of the nature and size of the tenders, an extended submission period would be provided to give businesses enough time to submit tenders to meet the transformation and local investment objectives. The next tranche of tenders would cater for the C9 route, from Bridge City via Phoenix Industrial and Cornubia, to Umhlanga, as well as fleet to be used in the inner city. The tender inclusion of the radical economic transformation framework objectives meant that every contract to the value of more than R30 million must set aside 30% for black small businesses, especially youth and women owned, and prioritise skills development.
Msunduzi Municipality: Briefing
Mr Themba Njilo, Mayor, Msunduzi Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, said that the BRT system was not yet operational in the city, as there were still challenges -- especially those that were related to an adequate budget. Msunduzi had studied Tshwane’s BRT system in 2014, mainly to learn about the challenges and successes of its system and the measures that had been put in place to offset those challenges. The city had also hosted a delegation from Senegal in 2014 with a common goal of learning from each other. It had contracted GladAfrica to oversee the implementation of the Public Transport Infrastructure System Grant in Msunduzi on behalf of the National Department of Transport, as mandated by the National Treasury. The Msunduzi Municipality was determining a suitable public transport area plan, which would extend the management of public transport facilities to other entities to ensure they were safe and sustainable.
Mr Njilo added that the transport infrastructure model had already been evaluated and monitored as part of the development process of a suitable public transport areas plan for the municipality, including an inter-modal facility that linked different types of motorised and non-motorised transport with commercial activities and served commuters and public transport operators by promoting modal integration, safety and effective use of support services. The cost of the project was around R31 million. The IRPTN proposals comprised two main terminal stations, one at Edendale and the other at Raisethorpe, about nine bus/truck stations, some nine depot sites, a feeder turnaround and precinct turnaround facility, and supporting roads and other infrastructure. The trunk corridor of about 14,4 kilometres was envisaged to extend from Georgetown in the south, via the CBD to Raisethorpe in the north, and would operate as a BRT system. The fleet would comprise articulated buses, rigid buses, midi-buses and mini-buses. The refuelling, wash bays and repair facilities were planned at the depot sites. Construction would also involve facilities for bulk water transport and storage, bridges, expansion of canals, weirs and bridges, road widening, telecommunication masts, and clearance of vegetation.
Buffalo City: Briefing
Mr Sandile Booi, Transport Planning, Buffalo City; said that the city had received a Public Transport Grant (PTNG) in the 2008/09 financial year for the first time, and had advertised for consultancy services. Awards had been made in the 2010/11 financial year for a number of service providers. The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) could not implement the BRT due to a challenge against the award by the losing bidder, which had resulted in a court case. The court case had dragged on from the 2010/11 financial year until the 2013/14 financial year, and BCMM had had to return the received budget for this period to National Treasury. BCMM had not received funding for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years. The municipality and the challenging service provider had eventually had to settle the matter out of court and due to the changes in the grant conditions, the service provider showed no interest in pursuing the matter further. BCMM had resuscitated the public transport agenda and received funding again in the 2016/17 financial year. Projects under implementation were the transport register, a review of the 2009/10 operational plan and upgrading of the Qumza Highway feeder route.
Mr Booi said that the contractor had resumed work in July 2017. The sub-contractor for the electrical works was also on site from August 2017 for the removal of existing street lights and to install new street lights. A request for the rollover of R 30.289 million had been submitted to National Treasury to top up the Qumza Highway project and avoid a budget deficit that would have a negative impact on the project. The summary of commitments for 2017/18 financial year included:
- Transport register completion;
- Review and development of BCMM operational and business plan for priority routes;
- Award for the Universal Design Access Plan UDAP by February 2018 for Qumza Highway;
- Review of contracts for the service providers for intersection designs;
- Employment of additional personnel for technical support by April 2018;
- Spending on the rollover amount for 2017/18 (still awaiting NT response);
- Transfers between infrastructure and operations components in 2017/18;
- Projected 2017/18 rollover.
In conclusion, the project had not been completed and therefore it was non-operational at the moment. However, the city had completed and launched Phase One of the project in 2015.
City of Nelson Mandela Bay: Briefing
Mr Luthando Mabhoza, Acting Project Manager, NMB, said that in 2004 the Public Transport Plan (PTP) had been compiled as a part of a Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan (CITP), as required by the National Land Transport Transition Act (NLTTA, 2000). In 2010, a limited IPTS had been launched to provide for the public transport needs of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2009-11, the proposals of the PTP were further developed into draft operational plans. Theses proposed five contract areas -- Cleary Park, Njoli, Motherwell, Uitenhage and the western suburbs. In December 2015, a scaled-down approach (starter service) was adopted, with operations anticipated in July 2016, which had since moved to October 2017. The project had been allocated R273 297 000 in the 2017/18 financial year, and this was to be reduced to R246 874 000 in the 2019/20 financial year.
Mr Mabhoza said that four stations were planned for construction in 2018/19, and these would be phased in, depending on demand. There was anticipation that jobs would be transforming the PT operators. There would be permanent and shift drivers, ambassadors, cleaning and maintenance workers at depots and other places. A call for a proposal for a socio-economic impact study --including an environmental impact study -- would be developed in this financial year. There were a number of risks that had been identified, and these included the following:
- Financial management of operational expenditure;
- Financial management of capital expenditure;
- Revenue increase;
- Delays in negotiation process;
- Operator business model;
- Delays in procuring trunk vehicles.
The city was setting up systems and tools to do away with mismanagement of funds, and also to improve on accountability. The NMBM was continuously engaging with the operators, and specialist capacity had been brought into the team to assist with negotiations. However, it may be necessary to consider mediation processes for effective negotiation when or if required. There were continuous negotiations with the Vehicle Operating Company (VOC). The funding was insufficient to procure vehicles in the 2017/18/19 financial years. The projections had been done for 2019/20 for the procurement of vehicles, and vehicle specifications would be developed in the second half of 2018/19. Lessons learnt from the pilot scheme were currently being implemented, and these included:
- Negotiations with affected operators, and not secondary co-ops;
- Recommissioning of the integrated transport operational centre, i.e monitoring;
- Improvements to the marketing and communications plan;
- Reduced operations and response to demand;
- Resource requirements for the implementation of the project;
- Improved negotiation strategies with operators.
In conclusion, Mr Mabhoza highlighted that the universal access strategy developed during 2013/14 would be revised for the starter service once consultants had been appointed. The initial fare system to be used was paper-based. The tender for the Europad, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) compliant system was being revised, and the interoperability would be tested with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) Motherwell-PE CBD rail operation initiative in 2018/19/20. The recent achievement was the announcement that taxi drivers would operate the IPTS buses.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) expressed concern about the delays that had been encountered in the Buffalo City project as it was supposed to have started in the 2008/09 financial year. The understanding was that this major delay had been caused by a pending case with the bidder. The presentation had also highlighted that money was returned to the National Treasury in the 2008/09 and 2011/12 financial years. BCMM should explain to the Committee whether the money had been fully returned, or if some funds had not been returned. There should be some report regarding any progress that had been made with the money that had been spent so far. The presentation by Buffalo City was demoralizing, as it simply showed that nothing had been done so far with the project.
He commended the progress that had been made by NMB, as it was well-thought and well-planned. The NMB should be clear on the preferred ticketing system that would be used and the reasons for using that system. There were cities that were planning to use an integrated ticketing system with other transport. The Committee should be briefed on how much money NMB had utilised for the project so far. It would be important to hear if the money that had been paid to the consultant had been paid on a monthly or per annum basis.
Ms S Xego (ANC) first expressed appreciation for the input that had been made by the City of Cape Town in assisting Buffalo City, saying this was something that should be commended as it was part of collaboration. The presenters of the Buffalo City were disadvantaged by the fact that they had not been listening to the presentations from the other cities on the challenges that were being experienced and the kind of questions that were likely to be asked by Members. There should be more collaboration between cities in order to draw best practices and find ways to be implemented in a different setting. The Committee was fully aware that Buffalo City had been interrupted by a court case from a service provider. However, it had summoned the municipality after hearing from the Department of Transport that Buffalo City was one of the municipalities that would need to return the funds. It would be important to hear about the overall cost of the settlement of the court case.
Ms Xego asked about the term that would be used to refer to the system, as other cities had names that referred to their BRT. The people of Buffalo City should also be provided with the exact year when the project would be operational and running. It was encouraging to notice that Buffalo City was linking the future developments with existing railway lines and future housing to the project. In essence, it meant that the city was connecting its plans to the existing and future infrastructure. It was unclear as to where the Qumza Highway in East London was. The Committee should be provided with detailed information on the developments that were around Beacon Bay.
Ms Xego praised the presentation that had been made by NMB, as it was clear and there was anticipation of the kind of questions that would be asked by Members. The presentation should also be commended for showing a diagram on feeder routes to the main routes. The connection of Motherwell to the project must be commended, as this had been questioned during the oversight visit to the city by the Portfolio Committee on Tourism. It would be important to hear if the developments in NMB would include the Ngqura area. The Committee should be told the exact year in which NMB was expecting to be operational. What was the total number of busses that would be used for the project? The Committee would be meeting with the Department of Transport tomorrow, and therefore any shortfalls from the cities should be addressed here.
Mr G Radebe (ANC) said that he was demoralised by the slow progress that had been made by Buffalo City, as the expectation was that there should have been some movement by this stage. The Committee should be provided with information on the money that had been spent so far and the development in relation to that amount. There was no relationship between the money that had been spent and the amount that had been spent so far. The Committee should be provided with information on the negotiations with the taxi industry, as this was one of the factors that were causing delays in the operation of this project. Buffalo City should align its operational plans to other municipalities in order to ensure that there was alignment in plans, instead of working in silos. The presentations that were made by Polokwane and George yesterday were encouraging, as they showed that there were realistic plans in place. Buffalo City was not a big metro like Johannesburg, and therefore it would be important to look at other smaller metros.
Mr Radebe mentioned that the Committee would still need to visit Buffalo City to check if what was in the presentation was consistent with the reality on the ground. It was completely unacceptable for the Treasury to be appropriating funds from 2006 up until now, without any progress in place. There should be a proper explanation provided for the slow progress that had been made in getting the project on the ground. The Committee would ensure that the Public Protector and the Hawks would intervene in cases where there were inconsistencies between what had been presented and the reality on the ground.
He was impressed by the presentation that had been made by NMB and it once again showed that the City was listening during the presentations that had been made by the other cities. The Committee should hear how NMB had managed to negotiate successfully with taxi drivers to be part of the project, as this seemed to be the major challenge in other cities. It would be important to establish if the negotiations with the taxi drivers had included consultations and public meetings.
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) said that the presentation that was made by Buffalo City was poor, and even the cities that had not delivered well still provided good presentations with realistic plans to implement the project. The information that had been provided by BCMM in the presentation had been inconsistent and lacked any accuracy. The Committee should be provided with information as to where the other R82 million in the allocated funds was. The financial figures that had been provided were not adding up and providing clarity, as there were lots of inconsistencies. It would be important to establish whether there were any plans for under-expenditure in the current financial year, as the city was expecting to spend R75 million out of the allocated R160 million. It was unclear as to the exact figure for the operational and business plan.
He asked that the Committee be provided with an explanation as to what the calculation for the business plan was based on, as this was not clear from the presentation. What were the reasons for changing the financial modeling plan? What were the components of the business plan that the city would continue with, and those that would be left behind? Why did the city decide to change the business plan? It seemed like BCMM was planning to spend a lot of money on the Qumza Highway, although this was not depicted on the map of routes to be traveled by the system. It would be interesting to see the whole component of the project, including where the Qumza Highway would fit in to it. The Committee should be provided with geographical areas and the operational plans for the project.
Mr Hunsinger asked about the three different types of buses that would be used in NMB, and what the differences between the three buses were. Why was the fare rate being doubled in 2018/19? It was unclear as to how NMB would deal with stranded commuters, since there would be a removal of the taxis in the first stage. NMB had budgeted very conservatively on the operational cost. Was there any strategy in place to deal with the possibility of needing extra buses for commuters? The Committee should be provided with information on the oversight structure of the VOC. It was unclear as to how NMB was envisioning the turnaround time for the issuing of shares and establishing a board.
The Chairperson urged the BCMM not to be disillusioned, as the comments and criticisms that had been provided by Members were meant to ensure that the project was a success, like in other cities. It was concerning to see the money that would be spent on the Qumza Highway especially when one looked at the kilometres that would be covered. The city should look at how other cities were able to succeed in this project. Polokwane, for example, was talking about how to fuse the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) into the integrated transport system, and this was very exciting. There were many challenges that had been experienced by a number of cities, but what was important was how to overcome those challenges. It was important to have the support of the local community in order to have a smooth operation of the project. The cities should conduct household surveys to ensure that there was involvement of the local community in these projects.
The Chairperson said that Buffalo City was one of the cities that would still need to be called back to the meeting to address the challenges that had been identified. There were currently four cities that the Committee would need to call back. It would also visit BCMM to acquaint itself on the severity of the challenges that were being experienced and the progress that had been made so far. The presentation by NMB had been a very good story, as already alluded to by other Members. The Committee would indeed have to conduct an oversight in NMB to observe the progress that had been made, as it proved that the city had highly skilled personnel.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) commented that the presentation that had been made by NMB looked good and well thought through, and it was clear that progress had been made. The way that the routes were designed in NMB was circular, so people could easily and effectively move around to various designations. This was a complete opposite to the design in Msunduzi Municipality, where the design of the routes reproduced the spatial inequalities created under apartheid. The design of the routes should not dictate how people had to travel or move around.
Mr T Mpanza (ANC) appreciated the presentation that had been made by NMB, as already echoed by Members. The Committee was very fair, as it would criticise where it was due and give credit where progress was being made. The presentation was understandable and very educational at the same time, and more realistic than a glorified story. The NMB should explain the negotiations with the taxi industry and the preferred operation that had been accepted by taxi drivers. The Committee would also need to do an oversight in NMB in order to link what had been presented to the reality.
Mr Phumla Nazo, Portfolio Head: Spatial Planning and Development, Buffalo City, said the city was taking note of all the comments, advice and criticisms that had been made by Members. She wanted to make it clear that they had not been aware of the need to be present during the presentations of other cities, and this was something that would certainly be taken forward, as it was always helpful to learn from other cities. Work had been conducted by the City, but it had been challenging and had been done through a consultant. Qumza Highway was the middle road in Mdantsane, and it was a very long road. The city would be looking at the progress that had been made by other cities that had made the presentations to the Committee, like Polokwane and George. The development of the Beacon Bay road had been started by the department dealing with infrastructure. The city would be making a written response to some of the questions that had been asked by Members.
Mr Booi said that BCMM had an operational plan that had been approved by Cabinet in 2010, and this was “done and dusted.” The City had then appointed a consultant to do the Corridor, and this had been a huge contract. The plan was to have a consultant for the master plan, and the design would then be completed by other service providers. The shortfall was primarily in the main contract, and this had resulted in major delays and court cases. The City had not paid anything for the court settlement. No money had been spent on the service provider, as the project was not operational as yet. There were areas like Mdantsane that would not be changed in the review of the operational plan, as they were the main areas. The review was basically to change the figures and aligning everything to the funds that had been allocated. There were projects on the ground under the allocated grant, and the city was trying by all means to avoid the possibility of under-expenditure.
Mr Booi added that the city was taking note of the concerns of Members and there was an awareness of the fact that the city was not there yet. There was a commitment from everyone to ensure that the project was operational and benefiting everyone in the city. The issue of inconsistency in financial figures would be looked at and addressed in writing as well. BCMM was absolutely sure that there was no need for the involvement of the Hawks or the Public Protector in the project, as the major delays were linked to the court case. There had not been any engagement with taxi drivers and other stakeholders that would be involved or impacted by the project, and this was something that needed to be completed and furnished to the Committee. There was information sharing between the city and George, as this was a place that was close Buffalo City. R161 million had been allocated, and BCMM would look at how to spend it and avoid the problem of under-expenditure. The cost per kilometer of Qumza Highway should be looked at in the context that it was being changed to two lanes from a single lane, and therefore the cost was likely to double. BCMM would welcome a visit by the Committee, as it had already invited the Department of Transport as well.
The Chairperson reiterated that other outstanding matters would need to be addressed in a written submission.
Mr Mabhoza said that NMB had 25 longer buses that would be used for the project, although it had no plans to use these buses in the near future. The negotiations with the taxi industry were not easy or friendly, and were often very difficult and hostile. The City took the decision to negotiate directly with the taxi associations during the piloting of the project in 2014. The reality was that there were still issues that the taxi associations were not happy about, as threats were being issued. The city had decided to negotiate with the affected taxi associations after it had been realised that the cooperatives that had been appointed to conduct negotiations were just sitting around in meetings and accumulating money. The negotiations with taxi associations provided better clarity on the way forward, as there was an understanding of the intention of the project and how taxi drivers would benefit. The existing bus service in the areas where the BRT system would be operating was taking in only 5% of commuters, but the city was still engaging with the company.
Mr Mabhoza added that the negotiations resulted in agreement that taxi drivers would not lose their taxis, as they would be leased by the City and there would be payment for these leases for a period of five years. The taxis that would be leased should be of a high standard. There was a selection of people that would be sitting in the VOC, and the people that would form the board of directors. The city had already been formulating the board, and there were negotiations in place currently. The city was planning to run the awareness campaigns and marketing plans on the operation of the buses. The Motherwell route would include Ngqura, and this was where PRASA would be involved in the two areas. NMB was still looking at the integrated ticketing system, but it would not be easy to run this system from the beginning of the project.
The city was engaging with other cities like George and Johannesburg in relation to the projects that had been undertaken, and there was willingness to share information. It had spent 15% of the money on consultancy, and this was coming down significantly. The presentation showed that most of the infrastructure and planning in place had been done already, and therefore there would be a limit to the use of consultancy.
Mr Sonwabo Gqegqe, Specialist Municipal Governance: South African Local Government (SALGA), said that SALGA was under the impression that no formal presentation was required by the Committee. SALGA was meeting with the Deputy President in the plenary in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). It had noted the discussions that had unfolded in these two days, and the concerns that had been flagged by both the cities and Members. SALGA had had bilateral discussions with the Chairperson of the Committee. It was clear from the presentations that cities pursued fundamentally different BRT models. There was an agreement with the Committee that SALGA would facilitate a political engagement to lobby the Committee to understand the importance of a subsidised public transport system, reducing the traveling time and also to be involved in spatial transformation and addressing the apartheid geography. There was also the issue of an empowerment model that was being looked at, and almost all the presentations had covered that.
The Chairperson thanked all the cities that had made presentations to the Committee and said there were four cities the Committee would have to call back as there were still some outstanding issues to be flagged and rectified. The Committee would be meeting with the Department of Transport tomorrow, and this was where there would be an opportunity for Members to raise some of the concerns and also provide feedback on the progress that had been made by various cities. Parliament would be going into recess for two weeks, and this was when the Members would be conducting oversight work.
The meeting was adjourned
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