Gauteng BRT a white elephant: minister
The government has admitted that the R15-billion Gauteng bus rapid transit system has been a mammoth flop, with commuters shunning the system in favour of taxis and ordinary buses.
Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi told delegates in his opening speech at the four-day Southern African Transport Conference in Pretoria yesterday that BRT buses were running empty.
"We are acknowledging that there are challenges with BRT systems and we will review the system, look at it and come up with the solution that will be in the best interests of commuters and the government," he said.
Maswanganyi said the buses were beautiful, clean and working in the metros - but commuters were not boarding them.
"We have to think how to redesign the BRT system so that it does not continue to drain money from the fiscus and [we get] value at the end of the day," he said.
Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi told delegates that BRT passenger numbers were "not that great".
"We have already invested around R15-billion in the three metros, but Gauteng 'ridership' is not more than 75000 people a day.
"When fully in place, BRT will comprise 700km of dedicated bus lanes.
"We have to ask some serious questions. Should we have gone for something more affordable and more viable? Do we need such fancy stations?"
Despite the failure of the BRT system, Vadi said his department was still testing the first phase of the 56km Tembisa to Vosloorus BRT route.