Gauteng to introduce single ticketing transport system

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A swift, efficient and cost-effective movement of commuters across all different modes of public transport. That’s the vision the Gauteng government is working on for an integrated or single ticketing transport system.
It’s hoped that the improvements will significantly reduce traffic, curb taxi violence and drive economic growth. The newly-established Gauteng Transport Authority will drive the process, a CEO is in place and government is in the process of appointing a board.
The public transport system is fragmented, but the Gauteng government wants to change that. Its vision is for commuters to be able to hop onto a bus, slip into a taxi or hitch a ride on a train, using a single ticket or payment method.

Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says it’s not a far-fetched idea and won’t be difficult to implement. He says the Gautrain already uses an electronic ticketing system.

“Gautrain has even taken a step further, you can take the Gautrain using your credit card, using your bank card to be able to pay, it’s no longer just electronic card, you can use your normal banking cards to pay for Gautrain. So it means the capacity is there, I know that municipalities also have cards for their bus services, and BRTs, so the systems are there, are in place.”

Taxi industry 

Mamabolo says because they’re not starting from scratch – integrating the different systems won’t be difficult. But, he says the cash-based taxi industry poses a challenge.

“We have to make sure that we clean the data of the taxi industry, a process that we will be starting with end of September. We will be starting by making sure that we stabilize the data and information of the Gauteng taxi industry, and bring in automation into the taxi industry, and be able to know beyond any shadow of a doubt, who is supposed to operate a taxi in the province.”

Mamabolo believes that by replacing the cash-based system and the physical movement of money, they could also curb taxi violence. The taxi industry tends to have a hostile relationship with government, the most recent standoff being over loading capacity during lockdown. However, Mamabolo says the two big taxi alliances in the province are fully on-board this time around.

Spokesperson for the National Taxi Alliance – Theo Malele – says that at a summit last year, they had given the green light to formalising the taxi industry.

“The one thing that stood clear was that we were prepared to modernise, we were prepared to make sure that taxi violence is nipped in the bud and we had also requested that certain pieces of legislation be repelled in order for the taxi industry to play a meaningful role in the public transport sector. We are fully behind Jacob Mamabolo as an industry.”

‘Won’t be achieved overnight’

Prof Jackie Walters of the Department of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Johannesburg says an integrated public transport system won’t be achieved overnight.

“This is a very good idea for Gauteng to look at one system that services the needs of the people of this region, across municipal borders and to have a much more functional system than the one we have at this time. I think within the next five to 10 years, we may be able to have maybe a 70-percent integrated transport system in this region. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s gonna take a lot of hard work to get all the players on board.”

Mamabolo says the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted their plans.

“We’re now advertising and constituting the board, and of course we should go through an appointment process. By the end of this year we should be able to put a proper board in place, and I can tell you that we will make a good announcement with the premier’s speech in February, we’ll be able to give you an exact date of when do we expect the full integration to happen.”

Mambolo says that in the meantime – pilot projects will be rolled out and be steered by the interim board that’s in place.