IT is back to the drawing board for the long-awaited integrated public transport system (IPTS) as major infrastructure changes to the tune of R30-million began this week. These will see the lanes become designated bus lanes in the long run – with taxis later using the mixed traffic lanes – as well as changes to the initial traffic planning designs.
With just a few weeks to go before the new launch date – a further postponement from the July one – work is being done to alter the lanes for use only by the specialised IPTS buses.
This follows a decision, which the municipality said was made by "all stakeholders involved in the project”, including taxis, to go back to the long-term plan of having lanes dedicated to buses only.
Contractors started working on the Govan Mbeki Avenue, Kempston Road, Harrower Road and Commercial Road sites on Monday.
The municipality’s acting communications director, Marthie Nel, said a number of factors would determine whether the launch would go ahead as planned next month.
"This will depend on the approval of the routes by council, the national Department of Transport and National Treasury.”
Nel said the changes were effected following recommendations in a technical report requested by the IPTS steering committee.
"These contained a recommendation that, in the long run, dedicated bus lanes be used [as per] the design requirements of the Department of Transport,” she said.
The modifications include:
- Changing the direction of traffic flow along certain side streets;
- Removing the existing bus lane signage for use on "other IPTS projects” and installing new demarcation signs;
- Removing the taxi stops and metal railings in the bus lanes to make more room for cars and taxis in the normal traffic lane as well as parking bays where there is space;
- The removal of the concrete barrier curbs along busy parts of the bus lane to reduce congestion; and
- Changes to the current intersection designs to fit into the modified lane alignment.
Mthuthuzeli Madwara, spokesman for the taxi cooperative Laphum’ ilanga, declined immediate comment on the matter. "I would rather not comment right now, so as not to confirm nor deny [that we were part of the decision-making process],” he said.
Algoa Bus chief executive, Sicelo Duze, could not be reached for comment.