THE City is pondering the rollout of a new model of aesthetically pleasing commuter shelters in all seven regions in the next four months, after a two-week public participation process is complete.

The shelters will use light-emitting diode (LED) energy saving lighting, powered by photovoltaic technology. The model was unveiled at a press briefing in the inner city on 8 February.

Design company Public Transport Media has been awarded a 12-year contract to construct, erect and maintain the shelters, which will be placed in strategic transport nodes around Johannesburg. The city has no allocated expenditure for the project; rather, the contracted company will pay for the rollout, recoup the costs through advertising and pay a fee to the municipality.

The contract requires the service provider to erect about 1 400 shelters over two years. “These shelters are not for buses or taxis or whatever, they are for all commuters,” says Lisa Seftel, Joburg’s executive director of transport.


The commuter shelter will be custom-built and fitted with a polyconic projection of guide route maps, public transport timetables, wheelchair friendly ramps, an advertising light box and backrest seating. It is ergonomically designed and will have a strong, smooth concrete base and will serve as a windbreak.

“We have been very concerned recently to be able to provide public transport with dignity and to be able to draw more users to public transport. It is critical that when people are waiting for a minibus taxi or a bus that they are sheltered from essentially the rain or the sun,” Seftel explains.

The material that will be used for the shelter has no resale value, which will help to prevent theft. It will be cool in summer, and not as cold in winter months. The design is durable, the material planned to be used is biodegradable, has a low carbon footprint and is easy to clean and maintain.

“We think that the infrastructure that is provided for public transport users is as important as the mode of transport that they may be using,” says Seftel.

The shelters were designed by a Joburg born, internationally esteemed industrial designer and consultant, Brian Steinhobel.

Enhancing Joburg’s streetscape

Joburg’s portfolio head of transport, Rehana Moosajee, says given that the commuter shelters will be part of Joburg’s streetscape for a long time to come, the City has decided to give residents the opportunity to make inputs on the proposed design for the shelters before they are rolled out.

She says the transport department is embarking on a two-week public participation process in all seven regions of the City, seeking public comment on the designed model, which has already been taken to the section 79 transport portfolio committee.

“But we also want to hear from potential users of these commuter shelters, whether this model is taking the City of Joburg in the right direction so that when we launch in four months the men and women of this city will feel a sense of ownership,” she says.

Steinhobel says the shelter will enhance the aura of Johannesburg and “will be the iconic place of meeting because it is attractive and pretty”.

In future, Steinhobel says, he hopes the shelter will be installed with tamperproof USB ports that will take laptops and cellphones. “This technology allows us to explore all those possibilities. We want commuters to rest their weary legs and for some of those long waits they will have a comfortable place to sit in a dignified place,” he notes.

One shelter will house five seated people and a wheelchair facility; in other instances there will be three sitting positions and a wheelchair base. In stormy conditions, about 15 people will be able to huddle under the shelter.

The material planned for use comes from the high-tech automotive and marine industry. “It is completely impervious to rust and has a 30-year lifespan of colour, which can be revitalised by polishing and will withstand any condition. The longevity and toughness of the material could withstand the life expectancy of what it should be,” explains Steinhobel.

He adds that the pure nature of the device commands natural respect because it gives dignity back and “that’s man machine interface psychology, a subconscious psychological intuitive response of a human being to a device. So intuitively I don’t think as a designer the need for vandalism will arise.”

Public participation

The public participation process started in Region D at the Bara Taxi Rank and Thokoza Park on Thursday, 9 February and in Region G at the Lenasia taxi and Orange Farm taxi Ranks. On Friday, the road show will go to Region B and Region C at the Randburg Taxi Rank, Roodepoort Rank 5 and Rosebank Gautrain Station.

MMC for transport Rehana Moosajee has unveiled new commuter shelters to be rolled out in a few weeks all over Johannesburg. Watch video.

“People need to feel a sense of ownership so that Johannesburg can become synonymous with public transport that gives dignity to its people, and that we become a space to emulate in the whole world,” says Moosajee.

On Monday, 13 February, the model will be taken to Region A, at Ivory Park’s Kopanong Taxi Rank and the Midrand Taxi Rank, and to Region E at Alexandra’s Pan Africa Mall and the Sandton Gautrain Station. On Tuesday, 14 February it will be taken to Ghandi Square in Region F and the Metro Mall and the Noord Taxi Rank in the inner city.

Residents can also email their comments to

Moosajee says that as part of Joburg 2040, the City is aiming for eco-mobility, encouraging residents to either walk and cycle or use public transport.