National Treasury has to change its attitude towards public transport

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National Treasury has to change its attitude towards public transport, says Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe.

“If Treasury keeps on saying public transport is for the poor, we are dead.

“Public transport are for the intelligent, for people who want to make a difference in the world.”

Speaking at the Transport Forum, held in Pretoria on Thursday, Van der Merwe recalled how National Treasury had told him that the Gautrain was for the rich.

However, he believed that all public transport should focus on punctuality and availability, “and not making money”.

He emphasised that public transport offered a viable answer to the forces currently shaping the world, such as climate change and rapid urbanisation.

Van der Merwe noted that good public transport systems required the integration of land-use, economic planning and public transport planning.

Public transport must also be efficient, effective and sustainable. It has to address key environmental issues, must be integrated with other modes of transport, public and private, and it has to ensure seamless transfer.

Public transport also has to be safe for all users, while it must also be affordable.

“All modes of public transport must be identified and developed. They are all necessary, otherwise we are in deep trouble,” noted Van der Merwe.

Without the development of an efficient pubic transport system in Gauteng, the average speed on the province’s freeways would, for example, drop to 10 km/h by 2037, he said.

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