Nelson Mandela Bay's failed IPTS, SA's most expensive transport bungle: Trollip
Nelson Mandela Bay’s Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) is South Africa’s most expensive public transport bungle in any Metro, says Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape leader and Nelson Mandela Bay Mayoral candidate in the 2016 Local Government Elections, Athol Trollip, after conducting an oversight visit to the municipality's IPTS busyard in Markman, Motherwell on Thursday.
"With over R1-billion already lost, it is an outrage that these buses are just standing here collecting dust and are rusting.
"Minister Jeff Radebe recently launched Transport Month, which proposes that 'together we move South Africa forward'. Apart from sounding a lot like the familiar ANC tagline, it is also ironic considering that in Nelson Mandela Bay no one is moving forward on public transport at all. Due to this failed IPTS project, ongoing Algoa Bus strikes and unroadworthy taxis, our people are simply left out on their own," Trollip said.
"Furthermore, the peculiar blend of ANC taglines with government initiatives calls into question the ANC’s capacity to separate party from state.
"Having made use of taxis to get here this morning, starting in Kwazakhele and ending in Markman, it is even more evident just how difficult it is for many of our residents to commute."
He said that to provide a short-term IPTS solution, and to alleviate current transport issues in the Bay, the DA will table an urgent motion in NMB Council to immediately implement an utilisation strategy. This would see the IPTS buses used along main arterial routes between major urban nodes.
This motion has multi-pronged outcomes:
- Utilisation of IPTS buses
- Revenue from bus fares
- Alleviates pressure caused by Algoa Bus strike
"The proposed utilisation strategy is a means to ensuring that some benefit comes from the huge amount of money already spent on the IPTS. By connecting areas like Uitenhage, Despatch, Motherwell, KwaNobuhle and other outlying communities with PE Central, Nelson Mandela Bay could move so much closer to becoming the inclusive city we all know it can be.
"In an inclusive city, communities should be connected and not forced to walk or use other expensive modes of transport.
In light of the ongoing Algoa Bus strike, the people of our Metro are in desperate need of an alternative solution. Our residents simply cannot go on suffering without adequate public transport," Trollip said.
"It is understood that due to flagrant carelessness and mismanagement by the municipality, the IPTS buses are too large for the IPTS lanes on small urban roads. Thus, a long term solution for comprehensive roll-out will require careful analysis and project management."
He said that the DA governments in the George Local Municipality and the City of Cape Town have successfully implemented rapid bus transport systems that integrate with rail and taxi routes.
"This was achieved by ensuring coordination between all relevant departments, implementing transparent tender processes and employing qualified and capable contractors. Under a DA government, Nelson Mandela Bay will be home to a fully functional IPTS that ensures affordable, safe and efficient transport.
"A long-term solution will entail integration of all taxi and rail operators that will see major interchanges develop where residents can change between different modes of transport with ease," Trollip said.
"The DA will also demand that all officials implicated in corruption to date are prosecuted and punished accordingly."
In September, the DA in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality announced it opposed a proposal to sell off the buses.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Nelson Mandela Bay Ratepayers Association (NMBRA) and AfriForum Port Elizabeth served the first of forty High Court Application against a local company, Erastyle (Pty) Ltd, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, with the aim to claim back about R6 661 157 that was lost on the IPTS. Read more on this.
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