This is the first story I have ever read about public transport in Africa. Of course, it is Johannesburg, which is light years ahead of the rest of Africa, but hopefully it can function as something of a model. Rudo Mongoshi brings us this story on improvements to Johannesburg’s public transit. The Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is about to open, linking existing rail and bus services and improving inter-community transport. They fully intend to use the new BRT system to spur transit-oriented development, and it will link Soweto, a historic center of racial tension and oppression, to the central business district, opening up the area to additional employment and other opportunities. They expect it to increase mobility, decrease congestion, and improve the environment. Stations are being built so as to allow for multi-modal transit, so that BRT riders can easily transfer to a bus or train, or catch a taxi. There has been some opposition from taxi companies mostly based on job losses, but leaders believe that any job losses sustained by the taxi industry will be replaced by new jobs with the BRT system. Rides on the new system will be free the first day, in an effort to introduce the new system and encourage future ridership.
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