The rapidly growing city of Rustenburg is ushering in new developments in the urban transport sector with a promise to counter the trend of increasing traffic congestion and improve the infrastructure outlook. The city is taking giant leaps to introduce the Rustenburg integrated public transport system – Yarona Rustenburg, a flagship national public transport initiative being implemented by the Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM). 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.
Yarona Rustenburg is a catalyst for urban transport reform in Rustenburg and is poised to improve operational efficiency for the business community, education, and the general traveller by encouraging modal shift from private motorised vehicles to public transport. Passengers’ journey will be much quicker because bus rapid transit enjoys dedicated bus-only lanes. An added advantage of the service is the universal accessibility of the service which allows for level boarding between stations and buses and thus easily accessible to individuals with limited mobility.
What is Yarona Rustenburg?
Yarona Rustenburg is an Integrated Rapid Public Transport service that aims to integrated various modes of transport which seek to provide a safer, reliable, accessible, affordable, transport system that gives priority to public over private transport. The plan is to provide integration of public transport with the emphasis being on the delivery of an integrated public transport system. This includes an extensive effort to integrate fares and branding for the system with an array of other services, including local and long-distance bus services, feeder vehicles, taxis, pedestrian passageways, bicycles, and private cars.
What is RRT?
Rustenburg Rapid Transport (RRT) is the municipality’s Transport Management Department responsible for planning, managing, and implementing services for high quality public transport system that runs on an exclusive dedicated lane with coordinated and prioritised signalling. The people of Rustenburg, the municipality and the RRT department have named the bus service Yarona Rustenburg.
Why is Yarona being introduced in Rustenburg?
The goals and objectives of the project are to transform existing public transport conditions by providing a high quality, cost effective, car competitive public transport system that will serve the mobility needs of all segments of the municipality’s population, even current owners of private vehicles and in doing so, ease congestion, reduce the impact on the environment and support the development of a sustainable city; to achieve this objective by placing 80% of the municipality’s population within 500m of a station or feeder corridor; to improve and integrate the municipality’s urban transport system and attract more investment and tourism and ultimately stimulate the economy and job creation. The aim of the project is to transform the existing public transport conditions and image by providing high quality, cost effective, car competitive public transport system that will serve the mobility needs of the city’s population.
How will operations be managed?
Yarona services will be managed through the RRT Integrated Operations Centre at the dedicated Control Centre to monitor the stations, buses, and other modes of transport. The RRT management will provide oversight to the Bus Operating Companies (BOC) who will be contracted to the municipality to run the fleet. The BOC(s) will be formed by existing taxi and bus operators affected by the implementation of the Yarona. The system will have an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) component to assist in the monitoring and enforcement of the system.
Which areas will be covered?
Yarona Rustenburg will place up to 80% of Rustenburg resident within 1km of routes which will be implemented over time as funds infrastructure and buses become available to the municipality. The RRT currently is implementing Phase 1 & 2 of the service. Phase 1 has further been staggered into Phase 1A, 1B and 1C.
Phase 1A – will cater for North-western areas of the CBD including Tlhabane, Tlhabane West, Rustenburg North and Geelhout Park. This will cover 5,3km BRT Operations, and 8 Feeder routes: thus, a total of 105 km routes network.
Phase 1B – will cater for Meriting, Freedom Park, Sunrise Park, Ramochana & Boitekong Extensions 4 &7. This phase will cover 7,6 mixed traffic operations, four feeders along an 88km route network
Phase 1C: – This phase will cater for Protea Park, Cashan and part of Rustenburg CBD and up 56km of route network.
Phase 2 – this will cover areas of Kanana and Greater Boitekong areas with six feeder routes covering a total distance of 70km network.
How many buses will be introduced?
Approximately 90 low entry standard buses will be purchased for Phase 1 and 2 routes
- Service speed and reliability
- Reduced Travel Times
- Increased Hours of Operations
- Dedicated Lanes
- High capacity
- Integrated ticketing
- High frequency services
- Air quality improvements
- Comfort and Customer Service.
- Security and Safety
Are residents going to pay for the project?
No. The National Department of Transport through the Public Transport Network Grant makes provision for funding of the projects. Municipalities are required to further identify other sources of funding for the balance (i.e., internal revenue, fare collection and advertising, etc).
How were the routes determined?
The potential passenger demand for the system was determined by conducting travel demand surveys and using a demand model to analyse travel needs and projected future demands. This is a crucial step in the process, as demand estimates form the basis for designing the system including route alignment, planning operations, and predicting the financial viability of the system.
What is going to happen to the current public transit options?
The affected public transport operators (bus, taxi, scholar) are participating in the Industry Transition process, a process intended to integrate the previous vehicle operators into the RRT. The affected operators will form and manage a Bus Operating Company, with the municipality providing oversight. The plan is that existing operators should not be worse off when the RRT begins operations. Some taxis will be recapitalised, and others might be used in the RRT.
What kind of jobs will be created?
General Labourers, Drivers and Operators, Artisans and technical skilled persons, supervisors, Managers, cleaners, security, cashiers, retailers, mechanics etc.
Are there specific benefits to the affected residents?
Improved public transport service, improved quality of life through shorter travel times and improved air quality through lesser emissions.
How will Yarona benefit the general public?
Improved image of the municipality will result in improved quality of life for its residents, more reliance on affordable and reliable public service, less need to use private vehicles, greener environment.
How will the implementation of RRT affect informal traders?
Informal vendors will be encouraged to become formal vendors, and benefit from safety and security of trading in established spaces allocated to each eligible trader.
How will SMMEs benefit from RRT?
The RRT gives preference to local population, SMMEs and other stakeholders draw maximum benefit from the entire project Council has ensured that a minimum 30% of the contract value in supplies, services, labour, and materials are sourced from within Rustenburg.