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A new era for public transport: taxi incentives programme launch

In an innovative and bold move to support mini-bus taxi operators, associations and regional taxi leadership improve their business, operations and services to commuters, the eThekwini Municipality launched Moja Cruise – its Taxi Incentives Programme (October 30).

Celebrating the role of the mini-bus taxi industry in the delivery of public transport in South Africa through the decades, pioneered out of sheer necessity during the years of apartheid, the Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede, invited representatives of the taxi leadership, to become involved in this new programme. “You have played a very important historical role in public transport. We acknowledge this and thank you, and we invite you to continue to do so with us, within an improved system for the City.”

“As we usher in a new era for public transport, we assure you that as government, we are walking side-by-side with you in creating solutions to the challenges that you face,” she said to the gathering of about 550 people including representatives of mini-bus taxi industry, politicians and City officials.

“We have and will continue to engage with the leadership of the industry, to develop a way in which operations can be improved and eventually incorporated within the new system.”

Cllr Gumede explained that as the growing needs for cities across the globe to become more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in line with the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda, the eThekwini Municipality, will be rolling out GO!Durban, its long-term public transport plan, which includes the current public transport operators.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Mxolisi Kaunda has given provincial government’s support for the programme.

As a building block towards the new system, Moja Cruise has been created as a voluntary programme, which will begin as a pilot or test case in about four to to eight weeks time, with an expected 500 taxis initially enrolled. These taxis will be branded and easily identifiable as participants within the programme, and will include taxis from all Associations within the eThekwini Municipality. The successes and challenges of this pilot will help inform the future roll out of the programme throughout the Municipality.

Devised to improve operators’ businesses through better services to the commuters, and drivers rewarded for excellence, Moja Cruise will focus on providing an efficient, friendly and safe experience for customers.

The launch revealed some of the details of the programme, which will track vehicles and obtain feedback from the various structures like rank marshalls, associations and state-of-the-art tracking systems. Eventually commuters will be asked to rate their experiences. This will all feed into a system, which rewards the drivers and operators for excellence on a monthly basis.

Going forward, the City plans to develop public-private partnerships to support a bigger rewards programme which will help add value to the business operations of the taxis such as discounts on tyres, services and insurance, amongst others.

Preparations are in place to brief the industry ahead of the implementation of the programme towards the end of the year.




Commemorating World Cities Day (31/10/2017)

The eThekwini Municipality, through it’s GO!Durban integrated public transport network, will be observing World Cities Day at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, October 31 together with a number of national and local stakeholders.

The gathering will be attended by representatives from the Department of Human Settlements, Urban October, South African Local Government Association, UN Habitat, National Department of Human Settlements and SA Cities Network, as well as from NGO’s, community organisations and the private sector.

The 31st October was declared World Cities Day by the United Nations in 2013, in an endeavour to encourage the international community’s interest in global urbanization – its issues, challenges and the opportunities that it holds in terms of contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

Then in 2016, the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Qito, Ecuador, opened discussions on urban challenges and issues, concluding with the adoption of the New Urban Agenda (NUA). This is an action blueprint aimed at making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This Agenda will guide collective efforts around urbanization for the next 20 years, and lay the “groundwork for policies and approaches that will extend, and impact, far into the future and sets a global standard for sustainable urban development. It will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities. The New Urban Agenda is a roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment. The Agenda also provides guidance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and provides the underpinning for actions to address climate change.”[1]
The World Cities Day observation in Durban, provides a springboard for the draft Implementation Framework to be shared with South Africa’s urban and human settlements role-players and stakeholders, creating a platform for discussion and inputs.

This year the theme for World Cities Day is “Innovative Governance, Open Cities” – with the eThekwini Municipality adopting a theme of “Better City, Better Life – Connected Cities for the People”. This is in line with the development of the improved public transport network, GO!Durban, within the City – heralding a new connected City where citizens will have reasonable access to safe, efficient and affordable public transport. This in turns drives home the City’s vision to be Africa’s most caring and liveable City by 2030.

“Going forward to address the requirements of the NUA, South Africa is to create an Implementation Framework that ensures urbanization challenges and opportunities are tackled collectively,” says eThekwini Municipal Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede. “We look forward to gathering with our peers to see how we will take a collective approach, recognizing that the development of our urban spaces within a context of human settlements is linked to the economic and social development of the country as a whole.”

“It is for this reason that GO!Durban, our well-planned new public transport network, forms the backbone of the City’s plans to create a “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” environment for our citizens in line with the New Urban Agenda. The vision is that public transport will network and connect people and places that have been historically disconnected as well as unlock areas for economic growth and development, and at the same time creating spaces and environments that are clean, safe and inviting for all.”

In the New Urban Agenda, leaders have committed to provide basic services for all citizens; ensure that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination; promote measures that support cleaner cities; strengthen resilience in cities to reduce the risk and the impact of disasters; take action to address climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions; fully respect the rights of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons regardless of their migration status; improve connectivity and support innovative and green initiatives; promote safe, accessible and green public spaces.

The observation event takes place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Mixed Use Zone on October 31, 2017.




GO!Durban Pilot Station: Testing Universal Access

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.