The Universal Access at the prototype station at the intersection of Regent Street and Qashana Khuzwayo Road in New Germany, for GO!Durban, the eThekwini Municipality’s improved public transport network, was recently tested.
GO!Durban stations are currently being built along the first route running from Pinetown to KwaMashu, and these stations will be what is globally known as “universal access” compliant. This means that people with disabilities such as those with hearing or visual impairments as well as in wheelchairs and including the elderly, people with babies in prams, or with bicycles have ease of access into the stations and buses.
The pavements leading into the stations and walkways within the stations leading into the control entrances will have tactile paving indicating where to walk. Voice prompts as well as visual prompts within the station and on buses will also be a feature. Wider access points will also mean easier travel for those in wheelchairs, or those with prams.
The control access points within the station comprising turnstiles and a Glastile wide gate for those with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs and pushing prams were recently tested by two people in wheelchairs.
Technicians and experts were on hand to obtain feedback from them and test the timings to ensure ease of access.
The rehabilitation of the parking and traffic flow servicing the area along Qashana Khuzawyo Road, between the Escomb Road and Blase Road intersections in New Germany, is now complete. Parking and traffic here has, for some time, been disrupted due to the widening of Qashana Khuzwayo Road to make way for the dedicated bus lane running in the median, and the construction of the pilot station for GO!Durban (the City’s new integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN)). The new system’s first route from Pinetown to KwaMashu is earmarked for completion in 2018.
According to the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA), the new configured parking plan allows for an easier flow of traffic with angled parking bays and provision made for more efficient loading areas for this busy shopping and business hub.
Thami Manyathi, Head of the ETA, says that the new GO!Durban system with the new station at Regent Street, will result in increased foot traffic, bringing critical mass to this area and the promise of economic spin-off for these businesses.
As part of the City’s Transport Month initiatives, Mayor, Cllr. Zandile Gumede, unveiled the new Cartwright Taxi Rank. The state-of-the-art rank is situated alongside Charlotte Maxeke Street. Speaking at the official opening, the Mayor said that the rank would give our commuters back their dignity.
The taxi rank boasts modern design with dedicated ablutions for people with disabilities, baby changing facilities, vehicle washing stalls which will house small business vendors.
The entire rank is secured by fencing with lockable sliding gates and tarred floors.
During the construction, over R600 000 was spent on sub-contractors to ensure the SMME development and local economic development was in line with radical economic transformation principles.
Job opportunities for local people were created to ensure local economic empowerment and job creation.
“Rank users and the public at large need to safeguard this rank and all other municipal public facilities from vandalism. The City is incurring billions of rands in debt to fix and repair vandalised facilities. This limits our ability to invest and provide new facilities to all 110 municipal wards,”said The Mayor.