City pours more funding into public transport service programme

At the launch of the City’s Taxi Incentive Programme last November were QJ Nene (South 1 Region), Sifiso Mthethwa (Greater North) eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, Councillor Mondli Mthembu and Yusuf Khaliva (Durban Central Region).

ETHEKWINI Council has approved additional funding for the city’s ambitious Public Transport Service Improvement Incentive Programme which aims to provide a better service to commuters in the city.

Council agreed to an additional R71m to the originally approved budget of R131 million. The R202-million budget will now cater for the setting up of the programme and management thereof, a Skills Development Programme, vehicles set up, driver induction and training, vehicle decals, marketing and communication, vehicle tracking units, tracker data, incentives for drivers, value added tax and contingency.

The eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA), which is responsible for public transport in the city, has been given the green light to engage with mini bus taxi operators who will be the key providers of public transport in the city.

The objectives of the Incentive Programme, for which participation is voluntarily, is to empower the industry at all levels, provide better levels of service and safety to commuters, as well as to develop the industry towards a more formal and scheduled service structure and improve the standard of public transport in the City.

At a meeting of council last week, a report tabled noted that the industry would be instrumental in rolling out the new Integrated Public Transport Network within the City.

ALSO READ: City to consult all stakeholders over night bus service

The Programme was officially launched to mini bus taxi operators and the public in October 2017. A pilot of 500 vehicles was agreed to be initiated to test the Programme and iron out teething problems before rolling out to the industry at a larger scale. In preparation for the pilot, additional consultations were required at an association level within the industry. During this consolation phase a few of the assumptions that were made with the original submission have been revisited and some additional functions have been identified that will be required in order to ensure the effectiveness and success of the Programme. The cost for these activities were not factored into the original submission to Council.

Authority has been granted to City Manager Sipho Nzuza, on behalf of eThekwini Municipality, to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the non-profit organisation (NPO) established under the Economic Development Unit, for the pilot phase of the 500 vehicles under the Programme.

Authority was further granted for a new NPO to be established for the full roll-out of the programme and for Nzuza to enter a memorandum of agreement with the new NPO as well as it being recorded that the contract will be legally binding between the Municipality and the NPO’s and sets in place the terms and conditions of the agreement and the methodology of the contracting and payment.

 

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