Louis Botha Avenue Rea Vaya BRT route taking shape
The City of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is taking another leap forward with the development of the third phase of the multibillion-rand project.
Phase 1C, along Louis Botha Avenue, will serve as a trunk route between the Johannesburg CBD, Alexandra and Sandton and will be operational by October 2018.
The City first implemented the Rea Vaya system in 2009 when it linked Soweto to Ellis Park in time for the staging of the Soccer World Cup in South Africa.
The second phase was implemented in 2013 to link Soweto to the Johannesburg CBD via the Noordgesig-Westbury-Melville-Auckland Park Corridor.
Detailing aspects of the development of the Louis Botha Avenue BRT system, Lisa Seftel, the City’s Executive Director of Transport, said the introduction of the Johannesburg CBD-Alexandra-Sandton trunk route should see a 50 000 increase in the number of passengers using the system in Johannesburg a day, contributing to the alleviation of congestion in the Sandton CBD.
The third phase of the Rea Vaya BRT will also help people travelling between Soweto and Sandton. There will be at least three transfer points – in Joubert Park, Park Station and Metro Centre for passengers to transfer from the existing Rea Vaya system to Sandton,” said Seftel.
She said the first sub-phase of the construction of Phase 1C was expected to be completed by 2019.
“Bus operations are expected to start in October 2018 and the rollout will be completed by 2023,” Seftel said.
The Phase 1C development involves various infrastructure projects including rebuilding the road along Louis Botha and building or upgrading 17 stations along the route.
There is, according to Seftel, a distinction between the Soweto-Johannesburg CBD system and Johannesburg CBD-Alexandra-Sandton system. The former is high floor and the later will be low floor.
With the high-floor system, the doors of the buses when standing next to a BRT station are about 1m above the ground but enable level boarding.
“However, this means that if you are getting on a bus from a sidewalk, you need to walk up three steps to board it. This is not regarded as universally accessible,” says Seftel.
“On the Phase 1C route, we are introducing a low-floor system. The stations will be lower and it will only take one step to get into the bus from the sidewalk. The low- and high-floor buses will not be able to dock at the same stations unless adaptions are made. We will be adapting a number of stations in the inner city to enable the transfer from high- to low-floor buses.”
Another important aspect of the project is the development of interchanges. This is where Rea Vaya BRT commuters will be able to transfer to minibus taxis and other modes of public transport.
Ghandi Square, Park Station and Sandton will serve as transfer hubs. Also added to the project is the building of bus depots in Selby and Alexandra.
Seftel said over time another bus depot would be built in Midrand to serve surrounding areas, including Ivory Park.
We hope in the future to see less parking for cars, especially in Sandton, where there is limited parking space. For us to reduce congestion is to improve public transport,” she said.
She explained that the objective of the BRT system development was not only to integrate the transport system but also to improve it.
She said the taxi transport system, the backbone of public transport in Johannesburg currently, should not compete with the BRT system but complement the entire public transport system.
“Walking, cycling and public transport will be the ultimate outcome once all the projects have been completed,” she added.
According projections, about 660 direct jobs will be created by the latest development.