Accessible, affordable public transport is a key component of a successful, liveable city and the Joburg 2040 strategy. The Johannesburg Development Agency, through supporting the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transport system, is committed to building the Joburg 2040 dream.

In a bid to create a liveable city, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) remains steadfast in its plans to give residents the ability to access key infrastructure.

Paying special attention to transportation, the JDA, together with the City of Johannesburg, supports the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. This system aims to offer rail-like performance through road-based technologies.

Since its inception in August 2009, the JDA has been hard at work overseeing road works for Rea Vaya by providing dedicated right-of-way lanes for the bus fleet.

According to the City’s Growth and Development Strategy (Joburg 2040), Johannesburg’s transport system is central to its economy and its people. “After years of underinvestment in public transport infrastructure during the apartheid period – where separate systems were created for black and white commuters – the domain of transport is finally poised for a new future in the city. With the introduction of the country’s first BRT system (the Rea Vaya BRT) … transport holds tremendous potential for integrating a divided city.”

It continues, “The city faces a number of transport challenges, although recent, key public transport interventions such as the … Rea Vaya BRT system have laid the foundation for a new era of mass public transport. To mitigate against increasing petrol prices, the cost of maintaining road infrastructure and increasing air pollution, a modal shift change from private to public transport is the only answer for the future city of Johannesburg.”

The City of Johannesburg has therefore adopted an urban development policy that creates a compact city and limits urban sprawl to use urban infrastructure and land more efficiently and effectively.

The Rea Vaya BRT system supports this policy through trunk routes, which run along key movement corridors in Greater Johannesburg. Trunk routes 1 and 2 run from Soweto to the inner city.

The new Phase 1B routes have buses zipping through Johannesburg, ferrying passengers to hospitals such as Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph, Charlotte Maxeke, Brenthurst and Parklane, and educational institutions such as the University of Johannesburg, University of the Witswatersrand, Milpark College, John Orr Technical College, Parktown Boys’ High School, Randpark High School, Helpmekaar Hoër Skool, and the National School of the Arts.

On 13 January, 26 buses started services on Rea Vaya’s latest additions to the Phase 1B route rollout in the Soweto and Amalgam areas. Mapetla and Pimville residents now have alternative transport and easier access to the rest of the city.

The City of Johannesburg decided to roll out BRT stations in phases, with 25 stations implemented in Phase 1A in 2008/09; eight stations in Phase 1B in 2009/10; 11 stations in 2010/11; and four stations, including retrofits, in 2011/12.

Stations are built after the BRT road upgrades are completed, as the stations can only be used once the buses are running.

The majority of the stations are located along the CBD bypass route, from Rissik Street in Braamfontein to Soweto Highway, and at the corner of Mooki Street in Noordgesig.