Transport operators must be included in town planning

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has encouraged all municipalities to ensure that they include transport service operators in their planning.

Minister Peters made the call in the aftermath of the taxi violence at the Mall of Africa in Gauteng, where taxi operators were jostling for access to the mall and for routes.

Minister Peters said the violence could have been avoided if municipalities, developers and the transport operators could have engaged during the planning and construction process.

"The taxi industry stakeholders should at all times participate in the Integrated Development Plans (IDP), in the Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) processes as well as other socio-economic development consultation and participation platforms," Minister Peters said in a statement on Thursday.

She said the fight for routes by taxi drivers from different associations is an indication of an "after the fact realisation" of the economic benefits and the lucrativeness of some routes and corridors.

"They must have realised that the Mall of Africa is a big establishment which seems to have potential for many routes in the Gauteng province," she said.

Minister Peters has encouraged the MEC for Transport in Gauteng, Dr Ismail Vadi, and the taxi industry to engage on this matter and work with the licensing boards to ensure that the operating licences and permits are provided speedily.

She said the MEC should further investigate the desirability and potential for the Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT) and Gautrain link to the Mall of Africa and all other retail centres to avoid the inconvenience of workers and patrons alike.

"Transport operators should also regard themselves as important socio-economic social partners in any development process.

"The system should include a hybrid of disciplines involving aspects of transport engineering and traditional urban planning, public violence management, and the development of routes and networks," the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency