GO GEORGE model studied by other municipalities

A delegation from the Msunduzi Municipality from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal recently paid a second study visit to GO GEORGE. Three years ago, they formed part of a larger group visit of interested municipalities, but this time they brought along municipal officials, political representatives and taxi and bus industry representatives.

The aim of this second visit was to learn about the institutional and contractual functions of the George Integrated Public Transport Network (GIPTN) and infrastructure component options considered and implemented by GO GEORGE.

According to Lindelwa Mngenela, Acting Head of the Msunduzi IRPTN, their plan is to launch the inception phase by December 2020.

“We have started planning the city-wide network in 2013, but after a directive from the National Department of Transport (NDoT) to fast track operations by the 2019/2020 financial year, we had to work out our inception in order to meet this directive while we are still busy with road widening for the first phase,” Mngenela said.

“There is a call from NDoT that cities need to scale down on the infrastructure implementation, focus on operations first, then build while operating. GO GEORGE was the perfect example for us to visit as their approach is exactly that: operate, monitor, then improve. We could learn from the lessons GO GEORGE has learnt.”

Mngenela said it was good that they had been accompanied by their public transport industry. “They have also gained a lot with regards to the VOC (vehicle operating company) operations, working together with the Municipality to resolve conflicts, and also owning the project from the beginning.”

Asked whether there was anything in particular in the GO GEORGE project that caught her attention and impressed her, she immediately mentioned the universal accessible minibus fleet.

According to James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager, the customised minibuses are indeed unique and were the first public transport minibuses with this level of accessibility in South Africa. “They always seem to steal the limelight and we are indeed extremely proud of the design that had been done in cooperation with municipal engineers on our team at the time. While our larger buses use a hydraulic ramp to accommodate passengers with special needs, our minibus deploys a hydraulic hoist with a platform for wheelchairs, baby strollers or any person with mobility challenges.”

CAPTION: GO GEORGE community liaison officer, Simphiwe Schaap, guided the Msunduzi delegates on a bus tour including the bus depot and Transport Hub, explaining how the system works, and pointing out universal access features at the bus stops and on the buses.


GEORGE-model deur ander munisipaliteite bestudeer

Die Pietermaritzbug-besoekers het waardevolle inligting bekom tydens die studietoer en die geleentheid gebruik om vrae te vra en insig te kry in die infrastruktuur en institusionele en kontraktuele funksies wat deur GO GEORGE geïmplementeer is

’n Afvaardiging van die Msunduzi-munisipaliteit uit Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal het onlangs ’n tweede besoek aan GO GEORGE gebring. Dié munisipaliteit was drie jaar gelede deel van ’n groter groepsbesoek van belangstellende munisipaliteite, maar hierdie keer het hulle munisipale amptenare, politieke verteenwoordigers en verteenwoordigers van die taxi- en busbedryf saam gebring.

Die doel van dié tweede besoek was om meer uit te vind van die institusionele en kontraktuele funksies van die George Geïntegreerde Openbare Vervoernetwerk (GIPTN), asook infrastruktuur-opsies wat oorweeg en geïmplementeer is deur GO GEORGE.

Volgens Lindelwa Mngenela, waarnemende hoof van die Msunduzi IRPTN, beplan hulle om die eerste fase teen Desember 2020 uit te rol.

“Ons het die netwerk wat regoor die stad strek in 2013 begin beplan, maar ná ’n instruksie van die nasionale departement van vervoer om bedrywighede te bespoedig vir die 2019/2020 finansiële jaar, moes ons die aanvang van ons diens uitwerk om gehoor te gee hieraan terwyl ons nog besig is om paaie te verbreed vir die eerste fase,” sê Mngenela.

“Daar is ’n oproep van die departement dat stede die implementering van infrastruktuur moet afskaal en eers op die bedryf van die busdiens moet fokus, en dan moet bou terwyl die diens bedryf word. GO GEORGE was die perfekte voorbeeld vir ons om te besoek aangesien hul benadering presies dit is: bedryf, monitor, en verbeter dan. Ons kon leer van die lesse wat GO GEORGE reeds geleer het.”

Mnengela sê dit was ‘n goeie ding dat lede van hul openbare vervoerbedryf saamgekom het. “Hulle het ook baie gebaat deur die voertuigbedryfsmaatskappy se werksaamhede te bestudeer, hoe hulle saam met die munisipaliteit werk om konflik op te los en ook van die begin af eienaarskap van die projek te neem.”

Op ’n vraag of daar iets spesifieks in die GO GEORGE-projek was wat haar oog gevang en haar beïndruk het, het sy dadelik die vloot van universeel-toeganklike minibusse genoem.

Volgens James Robb, GO GEORGE-bestuurder, is die aangepaste minibusse inderdaad uniek en die eerste minibusse in openbare vervoer met hierdie vlak van toeganklikheid in Suid-Afrika. “Hulle steel gedurig die kalklig en ons is inderdaad uiters trots op die ontwerp wat in samewerking met munisipale ingenieurs in ons span gedoen is. Terwyl ons groter busse ’n hidrouliese loopvlak gebruik om passasiers met spesiale behoeftes te akkommodeer, ontplooi ons minibus ’n hidrouliese hyser met ’n platform vir rolstoele, babawaentjies of enige persoon met uitdagings ten opsigte van beweeglikheid.”

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