City happy with Go! Durban progress

Cllr Nigel Gumede, Sibusiso Sithole, Cllr James Nxumalo, Cllr Logie Naidoo and Thami Manyathi are excited with the Go!Durban progress thus far.

DESPITE a few challenges over the last year, the eThekwini municipality is happy with the progress of Go!Durban the city’s new integrated rapid public transport network, and the number of significant milestones the project has reached in 2015.

Go!Durban is poised to provide a world-class solution for the City’s future public transport needs. The new system promises to ensure improved mobility for all, with aims to get Durban in line with successful cities world-wide where public transport is a integral part of the economic and social functioning that moves it forward. A number of years in the planning and 20 months in construction, these milestones demonstrate the progress being made towards a “Go Live” date.

At a media briefing on the development, eThekwini mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo, and senior managers of the eThekwini Transport Authority and GO!Durban project detailed the City’s progress on the new public transport network

In April 2014, after four years of planning, construction began on the first corridor or dedicated bus lane from Bridge City, in KwaMashu to Pinetown’s CBD.

“The construction on this first route has required adaptation of existing infrastructure which has meant that the project has not been without its own set of challenges, however the eThekwini Transport Authority is pleased with the progress that has been made so far, and that operation on this first route will be a reality in the next 16 months.” said Nxumalo.

“GO!Durban is more than a transport project, rather it is an infrastructural programme that will restructure our society and connect communities that have not been connected because of historic divisive urban planning. The multi-billion rand infrastructure is a platform for development to build around and onto: to create densified residential and commercially viable urban nodes. The tons of soil, kilometres of asphalt, concrete and steel, interchanges and bridges may be technically impressive but it is meaningless if they don’t provide societal restructuring,” he said.

Head of the eThekwini Transport Authority, Thami Manyathi said the city was working to ensure the maximum involvement of the current public transport operators in the planning of their participation in the new integrated rapid public transport system. “Before we had even started construction, in fact four years prior to that, the ETA began its process of consultation with both the mini-bus taxi and bus operator leadership. We understand and anticipate choppy waters which we will manage when negotiating with operators.”

In February 2014 an MOA was signed with the Taxi Leadership representing operators in the first corridor being developed, which outlined the roles and responsibilities of the parties going forward to plan the industry’s participation in the new system. The signing of the MOA with bus operators is due to take place in the next few months. Technical advisors were appointed for the taxi industry in November last year and they will support the industry in the negotiations going forward. Mediators will soon be appointed for the negotiations, in the interest of all parties being protected through the process,” he said.

Lorna Charles

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