Opening of Dedicated Public Transport Lanes in Port Elizabeth
The opening of special lanes for buses and minibus taxis in Govan Mbeki
Avenue, Port Elizabeth on 30 May 2010 marks a significant step in the
transformation of public transport in Nelson Mandela Bay towards a
first world standard of service.

Speaking at the official opening of the dedicated public transport
lanes, the Deputy Executive Mayor, Councillor Nancy Sihlwayi hailed the
development as a major milestone in the transformation of the city’s
Public Transport system. “The hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South
Africa is a major milestone in our young democracy and has created the
necessary stimulus for major transformation in our infrastructure
development and transport system”, said Deputy Mayor Sihlwayi. She
reiterated the municipality’s commitment to ensuring a safe, efficient
and accessible public transport system for all residents of Nelson
Mandela Bay

According to Keith Mitchell, the Acting Public Transport Officer for
the municipality, the recipe for success is to improve public transport
so that it is quick, affordable, reliable and safe.  “This is
achieved by upgrading the infrastructure, giving priority to public
transport vehicles and transforming the operations to run strictly
according to published timetables, with easy boarding of vehicles and
payment of fares”, explained Mitchell.

The construction of new lanes for use by minibus taxis and buses in
Govan Mbeki Avenue, Harrower Road and Kempston Road is the first phase
of providing dedicated infrastructure for public transport. The next
phase will be the extension of these lanes along Standford Road to
Cleary Park, along Langenhoven Drive to Greenacres and into New
Brighton, Kwazakhele, Zwide and Motherwell. The long term planning
envisages public transport lanes along Cape Road, Heugh Road, Main
Road, William Moffett Expressway and Uitenhage Road. The
funding for all these improvements, as well as buying new vehicles, has
come from national government.

New buses have been purchased by the Municipality for the World Cup and
will, after conclusion of negotiated contracts with the taxi and bus
operators, later operate in these dedicated lanes, according to BRT
(bus rapid transit) principles, which provide a quicker public
transport service. This is because the buses have multiple
doors with the floor of the bus level with the loading platform in the
bus station. Passengers pay before they enter the enclosed
bus stations, which allow rapid boarding through multiple doors when
the bus stops at a bus station.

Construction of the bus stations on the platforms which are located
centrally between the public transport lanes will commence after the
World Cup. This means that initially only minibus taxis will
use these public transport lanes, until the central island bus stations
have been constructed. Taxis have stopping platforms located
on the left side of the public transport lanes, at locations where
buses are able to pass a stopped taxi. Similarly, taxis will
be able to pass buses which stop at the bus stations.

At cross-roads, special traffic signals have been installed for the
public transport vehicles, to prevent collisions with other traffic
which is turning across the public transport lanes. The buses
and taxis in the central lanes will get a special green signal when all
the other traffic has a red signal.

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