Address by the Minister of Transport Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP, at the media briefing on inter-provincial road transport services and the National Transport Call Centre (NTCC) for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg
8 Jun 2010
Good morning to you all. Thank you for joining us at this media briefing on the state of integrated transport readiness for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
I will present an overview of the transport readiness and a representative from the operating management entity, which the Department of Transport appointed to manage, operate and provide inter-provincial transport services for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; will thereafter make a detailed presentation.
With only two days left to kick-off for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as government, we are confident that South Africa's integrated transport infrastructure and networks will meet the needs of the world cup.
Government has invested more than R40 billion on public transport infrastructure for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to ensure that the tournament leaves a rich legacy for our country and continent.
This morning, Tuesday, 8 June 2010, South Africans experienced a historic moment, and a new dawn in public transport, as the much awaited Gautrain officially commenced operation.
This golden train of our country's economic hub will stimulate economic growth in South Africa and the rest of the African continent. The Gautrain is a clear demonstration of world class comfort, comprising of trains which ride on air suspension to ensure smooth travel at 160 kilometres per hour.
Computerised technology will monitor every component of the rail system, including all stations, trains and the entire fleet of buses dedicated to Gautrain commuters.
Gautrain is an integrated system which provides three different services, train, park and ride sites and buses. These can be used separately or jointly by transferring from one to another.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus operating company
Also today, the City of Johannesburg will officially launch their Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system bus operating company, owned by the minibus taxi industry.
We want to offer our congratulations to the City of Johannesburg and the taxi industry for this historical agreement they have reached in setting up the new Rea Vaya bus operating company. This is the first of its kind in South Africa and as far as we know, the first such agreement in our continent.
Let's remember the BRT project first began in Johannesburg, precisely in order to find a transformational way of running a modern bus service in a way that was inclusive of existing minibus-taxi operators. Today's launch of the BRT bus operating company, owned by the taxi industry, therefore goes to the very heart of what government is trying to achieve with our integrated rapid public transport networks in our towns and cities.
We would like to salute the commitment, vision and courage shown by the minibus operators and their associations who have stuck with this process over several years, often in the face of threats and intimidation. We would also like to salute the role played by the Gauteng provincial government and the City of Johannesburg.
But, it is not just the parties to the negotiations that should be commended; without public support from our communities we would not have been able to move ahead.
Now, with the new operating company in place, the taxi industry is positioned to roll back even further the sceptics who have doubted whether mini-bus operators were willing or able to transform. Congratulations! Rea Vaya! Let's move on!
Also today, the R59 million Windermere train station, opposite Century City in Cape Town, will be officially opened. Yesterday, 7 June 2010, we opened the new R140 million Moses Mabhida train station in Durban. Last Wednesday, 2 June 2010, the newly refurbished R70 million state of the art Nasrec station in Gauteng was opened, in preparation for tens of thousands of people who'll be passing through it bound for Soccer City over the next few weeks.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has upgraded all key rail infrastructures, increasing mobility and accessibility for commuters during the tournament. This is truly a transport legacy that will continue to benefit every South African well into the future.
With regards to road infrastructure, on Thursday, 10 June 2010, the R21 route in Gauteng, two additional lanes in each direction from the OR Tambo International Airport to Hans Strijdom interchange in Pretoria and the new R21 flyover at the flying saucer interchange, will be open to traffic.
This project forms part of the R23 billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement project (GPIF) undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency Limited and is one of the largest such projects to date.
Although the GPIF is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, certain construction milestones were set to ensure that most of the construction works for road widening are completed in time for the world cup.
A key component to the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be customer focused and world class airports. Through the Airports Company of South African (ACSA), we are committed to delivering exactly that to thousands of passengers and we are fully prepared.
The country's three main airports, OR Tambo International in Gauteng, Cape Town International in the Western Cape and the newly built King Shaka International in KwaZulu-Natal, are ready to receive thousands of additional travellers. Smaller airports have also been upgraded and are an important link in the integrated transport approach for the world cup.
Inter-city transport services
All the world cup host cities are ready to implement and roll-out their operational transport plans. We also have an inter-provincial and regional transport system in place, operated by an operating management entity.
The inter-provincial and regional transport system consists of semi-luxury buses and midi-buses from the taxi industry to run during match and non match days. This will help ease traffic congestion on the main routes. Ultimately, it will also contribute to safer conditions for all road users.
We, therefore, encourage spectators to make use of this convenient inter-city service. It will transport spectators from all operational hubs, in various host cities, directly to the stadiums thus alleviating the frustration of dealing with congested roads and sourcing suitable parking.
The vehicles deployed for this service will be highly recognisable and distinguished by their unique visual branding. Spectators using this service are guaranteed to arrive at the stadiums at least two hours before every match. Parking areas for drop offs will be between 100 and 800 metres to the stadiums.
This service will be provided by a fleet of 110 newly acquired 79 seater buses, operating alongside approximately 300 midi-buses from the taxi industry.
In addition, the operating management entity has contracted with other sub-hire operators to provide 120 additional vehicles to supplement the fleet capacity on match days, should this be necessary.
This is to meet the general spectators' long distance transportation needs and expectations of a safe, comfortable and affordable transport service during the world cup.
Valid event permits, comprehensive insurance, required passenger liability insurance, approved standard operating procedures as well as a disaster recovery plan in cases of emergency all form part of this service.
Furthermore, all buses and midi-buses will be recognisable and distinguished by the unique "inter-city" visual branding displayed on all sides of the vehicles. Some of these vehicles are on display outside this gathering today for your viewing.
We cannot host a successful world cup if our transport systems are not in line with the highest safety standards. In this regard, our drivers have undergone a vetting and accreditation process. They have the required licences, minimum of five years' driving experience and have been cleared by the National Intelligence Agency safety and security process.
To enable our fans to maximise the use of our transport services during the world cup, an inter-city joint operations centre is in place. Operators will be manning the centre from 07h00 to 19h00 daily and the contact number is 011 245 8611.
National Transport Call Centre (NTCC)
All modes of transport will be closely monitored to ensure that they are working efficiently. The 24 hour National Transport Call Centre, which is located in Midrand in Gauteng, may be reached on 011 256 1000. The NTCC will link with the website: http://www.2010findyourway.co.za to provide essential support to visitors and all spectators travelling to world cup matches.
The website will provide users with the following:
* a good understanding of the transport services and key routes operating between main centres at national level
* summary information on transport plans and operations in all nine host cities and surrounding areas and
* direct links to the sites of operators of all main transport services for bookings, schedules and other enquiries.
The host cities and transport operators will regularly upload their most recent and up to date information. Users requiring specific information on transport and getting around a host city should also consult the respective host city websites and call centres.
Ladies and gentlemen, through these developments, South Africa can confirm that its transport readiness is solid. We are ready to host this much awaited soccer spectacle.
One of the most crucial features of the world cup will be the ability of supporters and fans to travel around the country to watch their teams play. Our integrated transport system is now playing its part in ensuring that South Africa can put its best foot forward.
The teams are here and the fans are arriving for what will become the biggest party in the world to date. Our readiness is now not only a certainty, but reality for the thousands who are travelling from outside and inside the continent and domestically.
In closing, may we take this opportunity to encourage all our world cup visitors and soccer fans to have a great time at this world cup. This is an opportunity to bring the world together. It is an opportunity for Africa to shine, not only on the field of play but also, by demonstrating our ability to host and do business with the world beyond 2010.
A pleasant stay for our visitors and we wish you the best world cup ever. As we continue to say, the world cup is not just about sport, it is more about transport.
Issued by: Department of Transport
8 June 2010
Issued by: Department of Transport
8 Jun 2010
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