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South African Local Government Association (SALGA) webinar| Planning and Management Guidelines for the Development of Public Transport Interchanges





Posted: 15 October 2020

South Africa’s mass transit system should be planned and developed in such a way that it becomes an attractive everyday choice for commuters across all income groups.

This was the sentiment of Seana Nkhahle, chairperson of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and Acting Gauteng Provincial Director of Operations at SALGA, on Wednesday, 14 October 2020, during a webinar on Planning and Management Guidelines for the Development of Public Transport Interchanges.

Nkhahle relayed a personal story to the audience of transport specialists from the public and private sectors, and officials from various municipalities, of how he arrived at a recent business engagement after using various public transport modes.

He said that while some “frowned” upon hearing this, mainly due to perceptions about the quality of public transport services, public transport modes, including city buses and passenger trains, should be planned and developed in a manner that would make them safe, reliable, fast and comfortable, thus becoming an attractive option for travelers across all income categories.

“My question is why should they frown, why is it not expected that people around this room would do that as a normal course of action. I think we need to destigmatize that,” Nkhahle said.

“And yes, it was induced by the fact that I had taken my car for service, but it was a no brainer that I would still get to my destination and it must be a mechanism that is utilized, not just out of necessity, because I happened to not have my car on that particular day, but on any other day. It should be encouraged across the board.

“You should be able to have different income categories utilizing public transport facilities comfortably and reliably,” said Nkhahle.

South African’s public transport industry is still plagued with health, reliability and safety issues, and SALGA therefore convened a webinar where top experts in the public and private transport sectors, shared their insights on how to achieve effective public transport interchanges for travelers and operators.

Inputs from the platform will feed into SALGA efforts towards the development of practical guidelines for planning and management of multimodal public transport interchanges in South Africa.

Gershwin Fortune, Director of the City of Cape Town's Transport Directorate, spoke on the guidelines used by municipalities relating to the management of public transport interchanges (PTIs) Defining multimodal transport interchanges as places where people and commercial activities come together, Fortune said: “The role of public transport interchanges is to provide: coordination between services at interchange points, reduce the total time for passengers, strategies for social and economic informal trading interface and hub of access to city integrated public transport network.”

Reflecting on the City of Cape Town’s management of public transport interchanges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Fortune gave a detailed outline of the measures taken to ensure that PTIs in the city complied with COVID-19 health and safety regulations for the benefit of commuters.

“Appointing additional staff to do deep cleaning of taxi ranks and ablution facilities, painting of social distancing lines at facilities to assist with awareness and enforcement of social distancing measures, awareness campaign which included the placing of COVID-19 related information at all minibus taxi facilities and on site security personnel were trained in communicating COVID-19 related messages via loud hailing informing commuters about the importance of wearing masks and keeping the required social distancing of 1.5 meters,” he said.

James Robb, Manager of the George Integrated Public Transport Network (GIPTN) at the Western Cape Department of Transport, listed the benefits of having municipal guidelines in the planning and management of PTIs as follows:

  • Improved passenger perception and satisfaction,
  • Quick, secure and efficient transfers,
  • Easy to navigate,
  • Physical location and ease of access, parking.

Robb added that the design of PTIs should include:

  • Good lighting,
  • Uniformity, coherence and orientation,
  • Crowd management,
  • Weather protection,
  • Driver/operator facilities,
  • Accommodating passengers with disabilities,
  • Achieve cost-effectiveness in construction.

Stef Naude, a Director at HHO Africa Infrastructure Engineers, said his presentation on how PTIs should be designed: “Facilities which are too complex or rely too much on management oversight often don’t work very well. They need to be, in terms of their basic components, quite clear and simple in directing vehicles and people in a logical way. It’s an emphasis on simplicity rather than making something too complex,” he said.

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