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Global Ideas

Buses ease the jams in Johannesburg

Traffic is a nightmare in Johannesburg, but local councils are pinning their hopes on the Rea Vaya BRT (bus rapid transit) system, the first of its kind in Africa.

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Johannesburg Verkehr - ohne Logo

Project goal: Easing traffic congestion in Johannesburg
Project scale: For now, 143 buses are operating. Ultimately the system foresees a total of 805 buses covering a network that spans 120 kilometers
Project investment: 300 million Euros
CO2 savings: 805 buses are estimated to save 40,000 tons of CO2 per year

The streets of Johannesburg are struggling to cope with a growing number of cars and the result is daily gridlock. The Rea Vaya BRT system is designed to improve the situation, with buses setting off every three minutes and making use of dedicated traffic lanes and stations, and fares of only $1. One bus theoretically replaces over 40 cars and a dozen shared taxis. But that’s the problem: taxi drivers are complaining about lost earnings since the system was introduced. German advisers from theGerman Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) are serving as mediators. Hundreds of former cab drivers have been retrained as bus drivers and over 300 taxi companies are now shareholders with Rea Vaya. Once the difficult starting phase is over, a similar system is to be introduced in the capital Pretoria.

Report by Wolfgang Bernert

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