In March 2007, Cabinet approved a Public Transport Strategy. The Strategy proposed a phased implementation of Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTNs). The aim was to have operating systems in place in 12 cities and at least 6 rural districts by 2014. The longer-term vision until 2020 was to develop a system that would place over 85 percent of a metropolitan city’s population within 1km of an IRPTN trunk (road and rail) or feeder (road) corridor. In the decade since the Strategy was launched, progress has been slow. By March 2017 - exactly a decade since the approval by Cabinet - there were elements of IRPTNs in three cities, with plans for implementation elsewhere. The slow progress has been largely due to resistance from minibus-taxi operators. In addition, the experience of Johannesburg and Cape Town in particular has indicated that operating costs are higher, and fares income lower, than had been forecast. This paper reviews the experience to date and considers the options available to transport planners. The emerging emphasis on using IRPTNs for spatial transformation is discussed, as is the ongoing and ubiquitous presence of (unsubsidised) minibus-taxi services. Proposals for flexitime working can reduce the peak travel demand, and modern technology may have an increasing influence by substantially reducing the need for commuting. The conclusion is that an updated Public Transport Strategy is needed.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.