Reducing Poverty in South Africa by Cutting Time in Traffic
3 October 2012
(IPS) - In South Africa, Bus Rapid Transit systems, which were pioneered to great effect in Latin American countries such as Colombia and Brazil, are being promoted as potentially effective ways of delivering improved public transport services to the urban poor. But experts question whether systems such as these can alleviate poverty to any meaningful extent.
Bus Rapid Transit, sometimes referred to as “rail on road” systems, are high-quality, high-capacity bus systems with their own right-of-way, dedicated bus lanes.
Today the TransMilenio in Bogota, Colombia carries around 1.6 million passengers every day, over 84 kilometres of segregated busway. In Curitiba, Brazil, about 70 percent of commuters use the BRT, and around 30 percent of passengers are “converted” private car users.
It is upon purportedly transformative systems such as these that the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Cape Town in South Africa, Lagos in Nigeria and Nairobi in Kenya have pinned their transport hopes and dreams.
Early phases of multi-million dollar capital projects are operating in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and are set to soon launch in at least four other cities in South Africa.