Some notable articles from the latest Sustainable Transport e-update of the Institute of Transportation & Development Policy:
- Guangzhou Announces BRT Implementation, Bans Motorcycles
- Guayaquil, Ecuador Receives 2007 Sustainable Transport Award
- Jakarta BRT Expands to Seven Corridors
- Bus Rapid Transit in Johannesburg: Implications for Mini-bus Taxis
What particularly caught my eye were the lessons we could pick up from our neighbor, Jakarta, that only started implementing its TransJakarta Bus Rapid Transit three years ago but already has 4 lines in operation and will expand the system to 7 lines and 120 kms by year's end.
Four years!! At (most likely) one tenth the cost of light rail! Compare that to how long it took us to get LRT 1 and 2 and the MRT off the ground!
Commissioning the 7th line by year's end "would make TransJakarta the world’s largest BRT system." And that's still less than half the target network of 15 lines called for by the city’s Transportation Master Plan.
Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso also "described plans to begin implementing road pricing this year, which aims to reduce congestion on key travel corridors while raising financial resources for improving the quality of mass transportation services."
Taking their cue from London's Congestion Charging, the road-fees will go to improving mass transit.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg gives us a model of participation and politics in implementing BRT.
In November 2006, Johannesburg City Council approved a full BRT system, to be called Rea Vaya, which is scheduled to open by April 2009.We could build support for BRT systems in Metro Manila by encouraging existing bus and jeepney drivers and operators to form consortiums that will bid to operate the lines. The government can provide tax incentives and facilitate the importation of (prescribed) buses and build the stations.
A key selling point for (Johannesburg Mayor Amos) Masondo was the possibility of incorporating the existing minibus taxi industry into the new system as private operators. During apartheid the minibus taxi industry was one of the few places where black South Africans were able to invest. After the African National Congress took power, in order to prevent the creation of powerful mafias, no owner was allowed to own more than ten vehicles. Because of their quasi-legal status, these minibus fleets could never become formal sector businesses. Currently, Johannesburg has one public bus operator and one private bus operator, both of which are subsidized by the Municipality, and many small fleets of minibus taxis that are not subsidized. Rea Vaya will encourage the existing minibus operators to form themselves into legal companies, and bid on the operating contracts, putting them on a level playing field with the current bus operators (emphasis mine-udc).
The long-term vision is to develop a system that places over 85% of Johannesburg’s population within 500 meters (.3 miles) of a Rea Vaya trunk or feeder corridor.
The formula is win-win -the new consortiums would be great at encouraging SMEs and moving our transport operators into more sustainable capital formation. It will also be a great opportunity to move our drivers into salary systems and move away from the traffic inducing boundary system.
Now if we could only get someone to pay attention...