After the official kick-off, we’re back to follow up on our series about how soccer can help sustainable transportation.
A week and a half ago we highlighted World Cup-inspired mass transit improvements in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth.
South Africa has now spent more than R20 billion ($2.6 billion) to try to prepare its mass transit system for the Cup’s estimated three million fans. So today we’re going to see how this money has been spent in Durban and Pretoria, two other major World Cup host cities.
Durban received R 1.69 billion (nearly US$220 million) from the National Treasury to complete World Cup-related transit projects.
In April, the city began running thirteen brand new 33-passenger “People Mover“ buses along two routes: a north-south beachfront route and an east-west route that connects with out-of-city services; these routes were not covered by the Department of Transport’s Mynah buses.
The People Mover buses cost about R2.1 million each, according to Gugu Mdlalose and Mack Makhathini of the Durban City Government. Durban’s Deputy Head of Public Transport Erik Moller said People Movers are designed to reflect the “Surf City” ethos, with “youthful and vibrant branding in cool and soothing shades of green.” (Sounds a little like LA Metro’s “California Poppy” shade of orange…)
The new buses will ease mobility for World Cup fans, commuters, shoppers and beach-goers.
In the meantime, Durban also invested in a new public transport information system that can be accessed through the Internet, touch screens (including at Moses Mabhida Stadium), and a call center. The system integrates information from buses, taxis and minibus taxis throughout the city, providing information about the best way to travel from one place to another.
The city is also encouraging people to ditch cars and take the Park&Ride shuttle service, which began operating on June 10 from major shopping centers around the city; the service is slated to end with the final match. A Park&Walk service will also be in place with the help of the People Mover. Durban opened a new train station at Moses Mabhida stadium, and continues to work on developing its integrated transport system.
In addition, the city completed a flyover at Warwick Junction just in time for the World Cup and two years after beginning construction on the flyover. Warwick Junction is considered a main transport hub in Durban. The flyover is part of the Warwick Junction Precinct Plan, which ”aims to improve public transportation systems to enhance accessibility, mobility and safety; reduce unnecessary traffic congestion; create economic opportunities for both informal and formal trade; and make development culturally responsive and unique to enhance the tourist potential of the area.”
Tshwane, which includes the national capital of Pretoria, is working on a BRT system, but it will not be ready for the World Cup. The city’s upgraded Metropolitan Bus will be the main mass transit service during the Cup .