Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transit System, Rea Vaya
Rea Vaya, which means “we are moving” in Scamto, a local township dialect, is the name given to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system implemented by the City of Johannesburg. With burgeoning road traffic congestion, expansion of suburbia, flight of business from central metropolitan areas to satellite suburban business districts, and urban densification, the need for an integrated transport system designed to meet the demands of a new modern Johannesburg was becoming increasingly apparent. However it was also apparent that across South Africa the public transport system was in need of a radical overhaul to better serve the demands of a new South Africa. In 2006 the Department of Transport (DoT) published a draft Public Transport Strategy and Action Plan. The DoT, together with 12 cities and the SA Rail Commuter Corporation, than finalised the Action Plan which lead to the development of Phase 1 of the integrated rapid rail and road corridors plan. This was approved by cabinet in 2007 and out of these strategic and action plans, Johannesburg developed its Rea Vaya BRT system. One of the objectives of the BRT was to get people out of their private vehicles and onto the BRT system and thus reduce carbon and nitrogen emissions from cars while transporting them in low-sulphur diesel-powered buses with advanced pollution reduction systems. The project is being implemented in phases with the first phase opening in 2009. Phase 1 is completed. Currently Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya covers 120 km of road network with 150 stations, eight terminals and six depots. Articulated buses run on “right of way” dedicated median bus lanes in both directions on main streets. By the end of implementation, the system plans to have 330 km of dedicated BRT lanes across the metropol. The BRT is integrated into other bus, taxi and rail networks in the municipality to act as local feeder systems or connect to regional commuter transport flows.