The metro is aiming to “turn townships into suburbs” with the introduction of affordable public transport, Nelson Mandela Bay budget and treasury political head Retief Odendaal said yesterday.
Odendaal was speaking at a public participation meeting on a five-year budget plan, held at the Woolboard Exchange Building. It was one of a series of public meetings taking place around the metro over a six-week period.
The meeting was headed by mayor Athol Trollip and his team of councillors and municipal officials.
In a broad summary of the metro’s projects, Odendaal said the public transport initiative would be aimed at improving the lives of hard pressed Bay residents.
“We want to turn the townships into suburbs. Don’t think of the failed BRT [bus rapid transport] system.
“There will be a need to remove some of that infrastructure, but this system will add value for the people of the Bay,” he said.
Turning to the metro police, Odendaal said the aim was for a crack but streamlined metro police force.
“It’s not affordable to try for a unit the size of the ones in the other metros . . . The aim is for a small, highly competent force.”
On housing, he said the metro needed to ensure contractors delivered value for money.
Odendaal said he was aware that some rate payers felt the Bay’s service charges were unaffordable, and the input from the public and business sector would be considered.
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