TRANSPORT

Easier travel for Sedibeng residents

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Travelling for Sedibeng locals and visitors to the district municipality is set to become easier, with the launch of a modern transport facility signalling a change for the better, in how the townsfolk get from point A to B.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi today officiated the sod-turning ceremony for the multimillion rand intermodal transport facility, which will bring together rail and road transport services.

MEC Vadi said the project includes the reconstruction of the existing Taxido Junction taxi rank to transform it into a contemporary multi-mode transport facility.

To ensure that road meets rail seamlessly, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) will revamp Vereeniging station, develop a commercial centre and shopping mall, upgrade the train drivers’ facility and increase parking space.

Vereeniging station has been identified as a “super-core” station and has been prioritised for upgrading as part of Prasa’s stations modernisation programme. The revival of the station also falls under the Emfuleni city’s Central Business District renewal plans.

The MEC said an integrated public transport system was a critical need for the province. Its hallmarks, he said, should be reliability, safety, accessibility and affordability.

“Rail should be the backbone of public transport in a city region such as ours. All other modes of public transport should complement the rail service.

“Good quality intermodal transport facilities at railway stations are the essential cartilages necessary for the effective, seamless and smooth functioning of a multi-modal public transport.

“The main objective is to make public transport the preferred mode of choice through the provision of facilities that are environmentally-friendly and easily accessible,” he said.

Cost of the project

MEC Vadi said his department will spend R65 million to reconstruct the taxi rank facility, while Prasa has set aside R165 million for the project -- making the total cost of the project, which is scheduled to be completed over the next 24 months, R245 million.

Phase 1 of the project is designed to renovate Taxido Junction in order to accommodate a total of 605 taxis. The existing pavement will be repaired, canopies will be replaced, and storm water and water supply systems will be constructed.

Adequate ablution facilities and vendor stalls will be provided and an administration block and a passenger information kiosk will be constructed.

Universal accesses standards have been observed to ensure that ramps and crossings are located at strategic positions within the facility to accommodate people with disabilities.

“The facility has been designed to be commuter friendly and will be in harmony with the station, so that commuters will be under a single roof when interchanging and commuting between the two.

“The architectural designs for this development endeavours to optimise the functionality of the station precinct to the benefit of commuters, hawkers and the surrounding business community.

“It is aimed for the optimal utilisation of available space, minimise congestion and to facilitate smooth flow of both vehicular and pedestrian movement within the station precinct,” MEC Vadi said.

A compromise intermodal facility model has been adopted, which is a combination of loading and drop-off zones, holding areas, hawker utilities and wash bays with designated pedestrianized areas.

Getting the taxi industry on board

Representing the taxi industry, Peter Mothabe said: “As the taxi industry, we consider ourselves as the major stakeholders of this magnificent facility, hence we are fully supporting it.

“As we are committing to jealously guard the facility, we want the provincial government to consider us during the tendering process of cleaners and security personnel.”

The project is derived from the 25-year Gauteng Integrated Transport Master Plan, which advocates for integrated planning and development of station precincts to promote the integration of road and rail based modes of transport in line with the corridor modernisation programme.

The existing facility’s capacity accommodates 400 taxis, but the current usage is estimated at 800 taxis, making the usage double the capacity the station can manage.

The project is anticipated to generate at least 60 job opportunities and local subcontracting is estimated for at least 20% of the project scope.

Nthambeleni Gabara - SAnews.gov.za

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