Minor damage caused by protesters cited as reason for stall in this month’s planned launch
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is blaming minor damages to the bus lanes as the latest reason for delays in rolling out the bus system this month.
About 30m of yellow rumble strips were removed from the bus lane along the Cleary Park route, allegedly by protesting residents, last week.
There was no evidence, however, of any major damage to the road.
Inspecting the lanes yesterday, the metro’s roads and transport political head, Rano Kayser, said the damage could stall the launch of the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) by about three weeks.
Should the IPTS buses not be on the road by the end of this month, it would be the third postponement since the new administration took over.
“Those barriers [rumble strips] which were damaged by the fire and burning of tyres have to be fixed,” Kayser said.
“We must do remedial infrastructure work on the road itself. Those are the only delays.
“Politically we are there, administratively we are ready.
“I am doing my utmost to ensure that despite the delays beyond our control, we work within the timeframe.”
Marks caused by burning tyres on the lanes and also barriers, which were removed, were some of the damages on the lanes.
“We know that when the community goes and protests, they want the government to respond,” Kayser said.
“But we must also educate our communities to not always have a negative approach when they are frustrated.
“That incident caused more damage to the IPTS lanes, a programme that is supposed to be beneficial to them.”
Kayser said they would hold public participation meetings next week, starting in Helenvale, to discuss the roll-out of the bus system.
The city has still not managed to secure the backing of all the taxi associations, with Kayser saying they were still having discussions.
Only four of the 10 taxi associations have signed the memorandum of agreement with the municipality thus far, while others have been reluctant to do so with the current fight over whether or not the associations should be represented by taxi cooperative Laphum’ilanga.
Kayser said: “The two main associations we are intensifying engagements with are Uncedo and PEDTA.
“We met with them in a general meeting at the Daku Hall last week and we will continue with the engagements to make sure the Njoli route is rolled out in the 2017-18 financial year.”
He was adamant the IPTS roll-out would not be affected by the negotiations with the taxi associations. “We have done so much in six months. We have signed a memorandum of agreement with some taxi associations and we are empowering taxi owners and drivers.
“We are moving with speed and we plan to have a roll-out by the end of May [or] June,” Kayser said.
Asked if they would be able to spend the almost R100-million budget for the IPTS before the end of June, Kayser said: “We are trying at all costs not to have a rollover [of funds] because it would mean we are standing in the way of development.”
The city has partnered with the NMMU Business School, which will provide business leadership skills training to the taxi operators, drivers, conductors and rank marshals.
They will be trained on how to move from the informal to the formal sector of public transportation.
For the starter service on the Cleary Park route, about 40 taxi operators will participate in the IPTS leadership and development programme.