The rapid transport system which will operate as Yarona Rustenburg has a mandate from the National Department of Transport, to provide a better public transport system for the people of Rustenburg.



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Local Taxi Industry Buys Into The Rustenburg Rapid Transport Project

THE YEAR 2022 marks 10 years since the Rustenburg Rapid Transport project started with construction of infrastructure in Tlhabane which kicked-off on the 3rd of June 2012. On the 1st Of August 2022, the first Yarona bus left the bus depot at Rustenburg Show grounds to start with operations between the CBD and Tlhabane, bringing to life, a long awaited ambition to transform transport in Rustenburg.

The Rustenburg Rapid Transport dubbed Yarona Rustenburg is an Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) provisioned by the Department of Transport to amongst other objectives formalise the affected mini bus taxi industry and improve the quality of transport service in the city. Since project inception, the Municipality accepted that it cannot implement the project without involvement of the local affected public transport operators and has continuously engaged the local mini bus taxi industry to include them as part of the operation of the new public transport services. Thus the Rustenburg Local Municipality concluded a memorandum of understanding and supported the taxi operators to form a committee to engage and negotiate their participation with the IPTN system.

The negotiations were lengthy and required surveys which were conducted to determine patronage on various routes of taxi associations affected by the IPTN and the potential market value for each route and or taxi association. The results were used conclude the compensation agreement which has been accepted by the Taxi Negotiating Forum (TNF) on behalf of all affected associations.

By 2014, the municipality formed a bus operating company to start with procurement of buses and the initial 10 fleet of buses were delivered in October 2020. The Bus Operating Company, Rustenburg Transit (Pty) Limited is a company established to incorporate the affected operators by way of equity ownership and will enter into a negotiated contract with the Municipality. The company is further tasked to employ affected labour from the taxi industry which to date has trained and consequently employed at least 20 former taxi drivers as Yarona bus drivers. “We believe this is an empowerment and transformation model for the local taxi industry and we further want to work with the industry by encouraging them to participate in the bus operating company through equity ownership as this will ensure they continue to earn their livelihood in the transport business as they have been for decades,” explained Mr Moleele from the Municipality who has been at the forefront of negotiations with the TNF.

Due to the limitation of availability of buses and rollout of infrastructure, some of the mini bus taxis fleet once surrendered by the affected operators under the compensation agreement, have been re-branded and fitted with automated fare collection system to operate in Phase 1A. Through this arrangement, the City will be able to clear all mini bus taxi operators in Phase 1A corridor and envisages branded and rationalised taxis operating to complement Yarona buses. Commuters will see these unique taxis rolled out in Phase1A area which area Tlhabane, Tlhabane West, Geelhout and Rustenburg North from the end of 2022.

“We remain committed to rollout world class public transport service to majority of Rustenburg residents. In the short term, more routes will be launched and thus incorporating more taxi operators. Moleele noted that a lot of work remains to be undertaken including the stations which the municipality has appointed the first contractor to complete construction on 6 stations along R104 road. Two more contractors are envisaged to be appointed to complete the central station in the CBD and 9 stations along R510 road,” concludes Moleele.

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