Rea Vaya Milestones

reavaya milestones

The Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System has been running for four years, since August 2009. Have a look at the construction and implementation milestones of this innovative project as it brings affordable public transport to the residents of the City of Johannesburg and surrounding suburbs.

Date Milestone
Late 2006 The City of Johannesburg Mayoral Committee decides to consider a Bus Rapid Transit System in November.
August 2007 Former City Mayor Amos Masondo, government officials and members of 18 taxi associations from Top Six and Greater Johannesburg Regional Taxi Council (GJRTC) visit Bogota and Pereira in Columbia, South America, to study the country’s BRT system.
October 2007 Rea Vaya BRT construction starts in the inner city.
December 2007 Top Six and GJRTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City to provide the basis for thorough engagement in the BRT planning process.
September 2008 The City signs a Memorandum of Understanding on 10 September 2008 with bus operators Johannesburg Metropolitan Bus Services (Metrobus) and Putco for the planning and implantation of Phase 1 of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system.
November 2008 A prototype station opens in Joubert Park.
December 2009 A tender for the manufacture and maintenance of 143 buses for Phase 1A is awarded to Scania SA partners with Marcopolo SA. 102 buses are complementary, while 41 are articulated
February 2009 Rea Vaya’s first complementary bus arrives from Brazil and the City goes through a station naming process inviting public participation.
April 2009 Construction on Phase 1A - running from Regina Mundi in Soweto to Ellis Park- is near completion and is set to start operating in time for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2009.
April 2009 Due to taxi-related issues on the verge of a general election, African National Congress President Jacob Zuma called for a temporary halt until the new administration could be briefed.
May 2009 Rea Vaya bus fares are approved by the City of Johannesburg council.
May 2009 The executive mayor was given a communiqué from the minister of transport indicating that national government has set processes in place to address taxi industry concerns. He also advised against piloting a BRT service for the Confederations Cup and suggested the beginning of September as a start for the BRT.
May 2009 The mayoral committee decided to implement a special park and ride transport service for the FIFA Confederations Cup and to move the official start date for Rea Vaya to 30 August 2009.
30 August 2009 Rea Vaya officially starts operating with a temporary company until the negotiations with affected mini bus taxi operators are completed.
March 2010 Two new routes were launched. A complementary route from Dobsonville to Ellis Park as well as a feeder route running from Naledi to Thokoza Park Station; from Jabavu to Lake View Station and from Mofolo to Boomtown Station.
June 2010 The Rea Vaya station next to Soccer City was ready to welcome football fans making their way to world cup matches, which started on 11 June.
August 2010 Rea Vaya celebrated a year of being on the road. By May 2010 the buses were carrying 34 000 passengers per month. Rea Vaya had 38 articulated buses and 20 standard buses running along the trunk routes as well as 60 running on the feeder routes.
September 2010 Rea Vaya won the Business Day, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) award in the innovative category. The award was based on the creative artwork at its stations.
February 2011 Piotrans is announced as the new name of the Rea Vaya Bus Operating Company on 1 February following three years of planning and negotiations between the City of Johannesburg and nine taxi associations.
February 2011 Taxi industry shareholders hand over their operating licences and equity in return for a share in Rea Vaya.
May 2011 Suggestion boxes on all the Rea Vaya bus stations are set up in aid of strengthening communication with its commuters.
July 2011 A memorial service is held for Sicelo Mabaso, chairperson of Pio Trans the Rea Vaya bus operating company, at Regina Mundi in Soweto on 1 July. He passed away on 30 June.
November 2011 The Rea Vaya mascot is introduced to the public at a Look and feel event for Phase 1B buses held at Westgate Station.
February 2012 Rea Vaya calls the public to participate in the naming of 16 new stations and the renaming of a few existing stations running along the Phase 1B trunk route.
April 2012 Rea Vaya signs a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with operators affected by the Phase 1B route in respect of the negotiation process of June 2012. President Jacob Zuma boards the Rea Vaya bus. He describes the bus ride as “an experience”.
November 2012 The Rea Vaya bus depot in Soweto is opened for business. The R131.1-million eco-friendly depot has capacity for 270 buses and includes a parking area, an administration and maintenance building, underground fuel tanks and a bus wash area.
February 2013 Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for transport Rehana Moosaje, who spearheaded the Rea Vaya BRT project, resigns from the Council of the City of Johannesburg citing personal reasons.
April 2013 National bus strike commenced due to an impasse in wage and other negotiations. The City apologised to passengers for any inconvenience that might have been caused by the strike.
July 2013 Smartcards arrive and Rea Vaya phases out paper tickets. This is the first distance-based smart card system in the world.
September 2013 Rea Vaya held its official birthday celebrations at Bill Jardine Stadium in Bosmont to mark the fourth year since its inception. The celebration took note of the new trunk route that will officially be launched on 14 October 2013. The new route will use 134 buses.

Greenways to promote public transport


Increasing investment is vital to growing transport infrastructure in the City. The JDA’s flagship Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system is the result of renewed interest in investing in public transport to reduce pollution and build liveable cities.


With a focus on creating greenways – people- and environmentally friendly public transport routes criss-crossing the urban landscape – Johannesburg is building a liveable and sustainable city for commuters.

These corridors will allow for pedestrian, cycle and public transport lanes, including Joburg’s world-class Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), Rea Vaya. The concept is in keeping with the objectives of Joburg 2040, the City’s long-term growth and development strategy.

The JDA is integral to these developments. It supports the necessary infrastructure build and encourages private sector investment in selected nodes along these corridors. With developments moving to where the people are, residents will be able to live, work and play within the same space. It will also offer convenient public transport options.

Such developments address apartheid social engineering and spatial imbalances, whereby the majority of South Africans were forced to live on the outskirts of cities and towns, far from places of work and shops.

Although the country became a democracy in 1994, these segregated areas remain – the greenways programme has been planned to bring about fundamental change to these townships and suburbs. It will result in an effective and affordable public transport system and high-density neighbourhoods closer to places of economic opportunity. In addition, greenways will focus on establishing new mobility systems that will promote non-motorised transport and mass public transport, including rolling out BRT infrastructure.

Increasing investment is vital to growing transport infrastructure across the city.

Key to growth

The JDA’s flagship BRT is the result of renewed interest in investing in public transport to reduce pollution and build liveable cities

The key to accelerated and sustainable growth, development and poverty alleviation is investment in physical infrastructure, socio-economic infrastructure and technological innovation.

This infrastructure plays a fundamental role in safeguarding urban citizens. The ability to develop new infrastructure and extend services to new growth areas is an important part of building resilience to increased infrastructure pressures resulting from rapid urbanisation.

In 1909, electric trams were operating along Louis Botha Avenue (and Grant Avenue in Norwood by 1911), which enabled developing the denser mixed-use buildings that characterise these areas.

The BRT will provide a modern public transport service to support urban development.

Rea Vaya ensures passengers have safe, fast, and affordable urban mobility with dedicated right-of-way infrastructure. It also has rapid level boarding and alighting to and from dedicated buses; pre-board fare collection and fare verification; enclosed dedicated stations; intelligent technology systems; and integration with other types of public transport.

While there has been historic underinvestment in public transport since the trams, government is now introducing catalytic and flagship projects such as Gautrain, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) modernisation and Rea Vaya.

They are doing it because high quality public transport can make a significant impact to liveability and residents’ quality of life.

After more than five years of experience in the south west of the city, the next phase of the BRT is set to roll out in the north east of Johannesburg – drawing from the lessons of the past.

Key Rea Vaya infrastructure elements include roads, stations and bus depots.

Two important features characterise Joburg’s transport system: the majority of residents do not own cars and, in contrast, middle-income residents are resolutely car-orientated.

Developing high-density movement corridors anchored by transit nodes to restructure the city, and promote efficient land use and energy consumption is the final component of the JDA’s medium-term development strategy.

The JDA will continue to serve the City’s Department of Transportation as implementing agent for the BRT.