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PUBLIC TRANSPORT PLAN
OVERVIEW OF THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT PLAN (PTP)
Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan
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The PTP reviews the current status of bus, taxi and train services in NMBM and analyses future scenarios. It includes a proposed long-term strategy for the public transport system and a phased implementation plan. The PTP will be integrated with the ITP to provide a comprehensive multi-modal solution for the future transport needs of the metropolitan area. The PTP is available in CD format and a summary presentation will be made to the Committee.
The preparation of the PTP was guided by a Steering Committee on which Councillors, Public Transport Operators, National and Provincial Departments of Transport, amongst others, were represented.
The following is a brief summary of the main elements of the PTP.
1. THE MISSION OF THE PTP
“To provide an efficient, safe, affordable, sustainable and accessible multi-modal public transport system which supports social and economic development to ensure optimal mobility and improved quality of life for the residents and users of the transport system in the metropolitan area”. 2. STRATEGIES FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT DEVELOPMENT
The strategies for developing public transport within the NMBM have been based on a number of important principles. These principles encapsulate many of the intentions laid out in the NLTTA for public transport in the long term. These principles are listed below:
3. CONCLUSIONS FROM SCENARIO ANALYSIS
- The transport system should be customer orientated.
- The transport system should promote integration between modes.
- Densification of transport corridors should be promoted to improve the utilisation of public transport.
- New contracts for public transport services operation should be developed.
- Phased introduction of co-operation between public transport modes.
- A regulatory framework must be introduced to support public transport.
The long-term development proposals for the public transport system are based on the results from an analysis of several possible scenarios. The conclusions from the scenario analysis are that an integrated public transport system with scheduled services, based on trunk bus routes with complementary feeder and main route systems will, in the next 10 years, best serve the communities of NMB. The Public transport system will have the Khulani Corridor (Motherwell – Njoli – Korsten – CBD) as the back bone onto which the other services will be built. An expanded railway system will not attract enough passengers in the next 10 years to justify the large investments required.4. THE LONG-TERM PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM
The long-term public transport system will be characterised by some important qualities. The system will consist of integrated and regulated public transport which will be modern and attractive offering seamless travelling with an integrated and scheduled service. The operators will be contracted and through ticketing will enable true integration. The public transport corridors will encourage high density development through quality, high frequency, scheduled public transport services which in turn will attract more people to use the public transport system. A trunk bus network will be developed in the defined public transport corridors. Certain of these routes will have dedicated bus lanes and will ultimately be operated on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) principles with new modern and possibly articulated buses. These will cater for people with special needs, such as persons in wheelchairs and the system will aid general mobility by incorporating the concept of universal accessibility. The trunk routes will be supplemented by express, main, feeder and special services with an extensive network operated by normal buses, midibuses and minibuses. It is also intended that a number of these vehicles will be adapted to provide facilities for special needs passengers.
The trunk bus and feeder operations will intersect at attractive interchanges where passenger transfers can be made in a safe and secure environment. The interchanges will also be important nodes of commercial attraction and will be located close to suburban business activities and in the city centre. These interchanges will stimulate further economic development in their immediate surrounds.
The current rail service between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage should be kept and supported and no new road based public transport routes should be implemented parallel to the existing railway service. The study concluded that an extended railway service will not be justified up to 2020, except for a possible extension into Motherwell along the central corridor. In the National Railplan the SA Rail Commuter Corporation has indicated that in 3 – 5 years the Motherwell extension could be established, therefore the reserve for the railway alignment should be kept. 5. PHASED IMPLEMENTATION
An integrated and modern public transport system throughout the NMBM area will be implemented over a 3 to 5 year period. The implementation will be dependent on the reform of the current public transport system as well as funding for investment in public transport infrastructure and subsidies for the operation of the system.
A trunk bus route in the Khulani Corridor will be the first example of a modern integrated public transport system. The route will connect Motherwell and the PE CBD with a scheduled all day service via Njoli Square and Korsten. There will also be trunk routes from Korsten to Cleary Park and from Korsten to Greenacres.
A scheduled public transport service will be introduced gradually into the Coega IDZ as it develops. It will initially be a distribution system connecting to the trunk bus route in Motherwell. The route alignments will be detailed in the Coega Public Transport Plan and will be part of the integrated public transport system for Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
A network connecting the major tourism nodes will follow the first phase implementation and will be an important part of the public transport system to serve the World Cup in 2010.
Due to the time constraints, for introduction before the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, work has already started on the implementation of the PTP with the route alignments, vehicle specifications and legal requirements already in an advanced stage of investigation and planning.6. STRATEGIES FOR SCHEDULED PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICE CONTRACTS
The implementation of a scheduled public transport service is currently being undertaken with the cooperation and consultation with all current stakeholders. The NMBM area has been divided into five operating areas based on geographical and operational boundaries. Public Transport Services in each area will form the basis of a operating contract for the provision of the new services to be provided in that area. Operators, including the minibus taxi operators and Algoa Bus Company, wishing to operate on the new public transport system will be encouraged to establish formal, legal, entities with which the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, or a duly established Transport Authority, can conclude the contractual agreements. In order to empower the current minibus operators to formalise their business, and to guarantee their participation, the negotiated contract route should be followed. If these negotiations do not result in acceptable agreements, within the timeframe, an open tender process will be followed.
The contracts will incorporate a mechanism to recapitalise the minibus fleet, in accordance with the national government’s Taxi Recapitalisation Project, in a phased manner, for use on the new services. Vehicles that are identified as unlicensed will be withdrawn from operation by enforcement actions.
Throughout the duration of public transport contracts the operations must be monitored with regard to the service delivered and the patronage. This is necessary to ensure that the entities operate according to the contract conditions and to protect the contracted operators from illegal operations. A process will be implemented whereby the compliance of operators with the conditions of their operating licenses will be checked on an ongoing basis.
Various Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) projects will be implemented that will include integrated ticketing and revenue collection, public transport prioritorised traffic control, security camera system monitoring of all major facilities, control room and electronic passenger information.
To establish an attractive public transport system, improved infrastructure is needed to give a safe and secure public transport service with short travel times, convenient transfers and priority for public transport vehicles. This includes new, modern, safe and attractive bus stops and passenger facilities, as well as dedicated lanes for public transport vehicles and priority signals at intersections. The infrastructure projects will be phased in over a 3 to 10 year period with those projects that have direct influence on the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup event being given priority.Funding applications have been submitted to the Department of Transport for grants to design and construct the infrastructure required to implement the Public Transport Plan.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT IS BUS RAPID TRANSIT?
- Bus Rapid Transit is a system, using buses, with dedicated road space operating similar to a rail system.
- Characteristics are:
- Dedicated Lanes
- Buses have multiple doors for fast loading and alighting
- No steps between the platform and the bus
- Accessible to special needs passengers
- Closed and secure stations giving shelter from the weather.
- Payment on entering the stations, not on the bus.
- High frequency operation: 5 -10 minutes in peak times and 30 minutes off peak.
- Operating hours of 16 to twenty hours a day, 365 per year.
- Modern vehicles with large capacity (130 passengers)
- Buses get priority at traffic signals
- High safety and security standards
HOW WILL THE NEW SYSTEM WORK?
- The current bus and taxi operations will be combined into an integrated public transport system to improve service delivery to the community.
- The system will operate according to published timetables.
- The user will be able to transfer between different modes using one ticket only.
- The integrated system will operate in terms of 5 operating contracts:
- New Brighton, Zwide and Kwadwesi
- Cleary Park (Northern Areas)
- Western Suburbs and Summerstrand
- Uitenhage & Despatch
- In each of these areas a network of routes has been designed. These include:
- Feeder routes (within the residential areas)
- Local routes (between residential areas)
- BRT routes (to city centre)
- Express routes (using the freeways)
HOW WILL THE TAXI OPERATORS BE AFFECTED?
In the NMB area, there are 10 taxi associations (under the Cacadu Regional Taxi Council), Algoa Bus Company and the private bus operators currently providing public transport services to the community
- The nominated representatives of these operators are currently in discussions to form a joint venture operating entity that will be contracted to the Municipality to provide the new services.
- The number and type of existing and new vehicles that will be used in the new system will be decided by the new entity in negotiation with the Municipality
- The new entity will be paid, by the Municipality, according to the kilometres operated.
- Current legal operators will be compensated for merging their business into the new operating entity. In addition, their vehicles can be sold to the operating entity.
HOW WILL TAXI DRIVERS AND OWNERS BENEFIT WHEN THE NEW SYSTEM IS IN PLACE?
- All employees (including drivers), in the new system will be formally employed with legislated employment conditions.
- Owners can benefit by becoming co-owners of the operating entity and will receive shareholding benefits from this, which could include dividends. In addition, there will be a significant number of supervisory, management, technical and other opportunities for current taxi owners in the new system.
- It is envisaged that approximately 4000 permanent and formal jobs will be created in the new system. This number is more than the current registered employment in the local public transport industry (buses and taxis).
- Pension, medical aid and paid leave benefits will form part of the salary/wage package. Working conditions will be regulated and controlled according to labour law.
- Currently the Algoa Bus Company receives a subsidy to provide scheduled services at fares controlled by the government.
- Taxis do not receive subsidies, due to the fact that they do not provide scheduled services and the fares are not controlled by government.
- In the new system, the operating entity, which will consist of both buses and taxis, will benefit from a government subsidy to provide the scheduled services.
- The Public Transport Plan process has been underway since 2004.
- 16 public meetings, throughout the municipal area, were held during 2004 to ascertain the needs of the community as input to the preparation of the Plan;
- Meetings to discuss the proposed Public Transport Plan were held with ward committees during 2006.
- A task team was established on 11 January 2007. on which the following organisations were represented:
- 10 taxi associations,
- Cacadu Regional Taxi Council,
- Algoa Bus Company
- Port Elizabeth Private Bus Owners Association
- Municipal Officials
- Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport
- National Department of Transport
- Consultant team
- This task team meets on a monthly basis.
- The task team established six working groups, consisting of the operators and municipal officials, to plan the details of the new services. These working groups meet on an ad hoc basis when requested by the task team to address further issues
- Four public meetings were held during April 2007 to further explain the plan and the process of implementation.
- March 2007 - public meetings were held in all residential areas where the Public Transport Plan and process were explained to the general public
- During October - December 2007, intense negotiations were held with representatives of the associations culminating in the receipt of “letters of intent” from all associations to proceed with further negotiations.
- South American visit was undertaken during September 2007 by Councillors (including the Executive Mayor, Cllr Nondumiso Maphazi), 6 representatives from the taxi industry, Algoa Bus Company representatives and Consultants.
- October 2007 - Four public meetings were held to introduce BRT and to facilitate the Environmental Impact Analysis process.
- 24, 29 and 30 July 2008 - a workshop was held with all associations, during which the initial business plan was introduced.
- 29 and 30 July 2008 - a presentation was made to Algoa Bus Company staff and workers on the project, including the operator entity.
- 20, 26 May 2008 - a meeting was held with taxi representatives in Gelvandale Community Hall.
- More than 20 public meetings were held from February to May 2008 to explain the BRT system and answer queries. This included a widely publicised competition to choose a suitable name for the system.
FUTURE OF ALGOA BUS COMPANY
- The Algoa Bus Company is a private company, and like the other operators, is eligible to participate in the operating entity.
- The Algoa Bus Company will still be free to conduct other business that does not compete with the new services, such as long distance and charter services. The same will apply to private bus and taxi owners.
- Any buses currently owned by Algoa Bus Company that are required by the new entity, can be obtained in the same way that the required minibuses will be obtained from the taxi owners.
- A new fare system will be introduced to simplify the current system.
- The system will be based on a smartcard, similar to prepaid cell phone cards, that can be loaded with value and used to pay for travel on the system.
- The authority will supply the smartcards
- The authority will conduct an information campaign on the use of the smartcards and where to acquire them.
TYPES OF VEHICLES
- BRT Articulated buses (‘bendy buses’)
- BRT single buses
- Standard buses
- Midi buses
- Mini buses
- The authority will publish route maps and timetables for the new system and information will be available at all stops and stations.
- In addition, a call centre will be established to help customers with queries about the service.