Durban's transport system set for overhaul

Durban's public transport system is set for a major facelift with the city set to implement a new Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network.

The project will consist of four phases and will take 10 years to complete.

It is estimated to cost R25 billion.

Some 14,000 direct jobs and at least 6,000 indirect jobs will be created over the next five years, eThekwini municipality says.

The project is similar to the Bus Rapid Transit system pioneered in Cape Town and subsequently introduced in Gauteng.

The full details are:

* The procurement of 800 extra-long articulated buses serving three high-volume corridors: Bridge City (KwaMashu) to the CBD, Bridge City to Pinetown and Bridge City through the new Cornubia housing project to Umhlanga;

* A rail route from Bridge City to the CBD running through Rossburgh, Isipingo and Umlazi;

* The widening and upgrading of various roads for the first phase of the project, for which R2.4 billion has already been secured from the national Transport Department. The city needs R8.4 billion to fully implement the first phase;

* Dedicated bus lanes and pedestrian walkways;

* Upgraded bicycle lanes and parking facilities, and a bicycle-rent system from transfer stations, similar to those in London and Paris;

* Park-and-ride facilities for commuters to park their vehicles and then board public transport;

* A R1.5 billion upgrade by the Passenger Rail Agency of stations and signals along the route to ensure efficient synergy between rail and road transport;

* New stations and bus terminals; and

* CCTV coverage and enhanced security at all stations, monitored from a control centre.

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