While the construction of the new public transport infrastructure continues apace, the Rustburg Road Transport project team have been finalising the operations for the new public transport system to be launched in early 2016. During 2013 the four-phase project implementation programme was announced in line with the infrastructure programme and funding provisions, and now these phases have been further defined.

Amogelang Kgoathe, Acting Rustburg Road Transport Director, explains, “This is a major infrastructure programme and so it makes sense that we introduce services in smaller phases for a few reasons. The first is that we do not want to wait until all the infrastructure is complete before starting services as this will be an on-going project and we want to deliver to the residents sooner rather than later. The second is that with each phase we know we will be learning and gathering insights to make the next phase better and more efficient, making our business model stronger.”

Phase 1 will now be divided into three operational launch dates (Phase 1A, 1B and 1C), while Phase 2 remains unchanged.Phase 1A and 1C will see operations start in March and October of 2016, Phases 1 B and 2 will come into effect in 2017 and 2018 respectively.Phase 3 and 4 will follow.

In finalising the initial operations, the transport planning consulting team have also tested and amended passenger and bus numbers to ensure they are set realistically to make business sense and keep the service affordable. Ms Kgoathe notes, “there is no major change from our original estimates, but we have sharpened our pencils and are comfortable that the figures are in line with the expected service demand. Passenger and bus figures are obviously not at full capacity at launch and will take some time to build as residents learn to use the service and become more familiar with schedules and stops.”

In line with the construction and route plans, negotiations with the affected taxi and bus operatorsin Phases 1 and 2 are progressing “We are working closely with the Taxi Negotiating Forum (TNF) and Bojanala Bus Company to agree the process for procuring the bus fleet for operations which will be owned by the Bus Operating Companies to be formed,” advises Ms Kgoathe.
Aerial view of BRT bus lanes looking west
Phase 1A operations along the R104 Swartruggens road will be the first services in Rustenburg and are planned to launch in March 2016. The service will support 43,500 passengers using thirty-six standard buses with a carrying capacity of up to 36 seated and 44 standing passengers in and out of the Rustenburg CBD and Tlhabane along 6 routes. The bus lanes, pedestrian and cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings are complete, and construction will start on the 6 stations on the R104 in the next few months.
“We have had some unforeseen delays in starting the Central Station as a rezoning of Thabo Mbeki Street is being looked into, and this has had an impact on the overall project plan,” explains Ms Kgoathe. “Thebus depots and the Transport Management Centre for our initial operations in Phase 1 A and possibly 1C will be from temporary locations until the infrastructure programme catches up.”

The full statistics for Phase 1 and 2 are noted in the table below:
Phase 1A Phase 1C Phase 1B Phase 2
Location R104 Corridor A & suburbs R510 Corridor B
Operations start March 2016 October 2016 March 2017 March 2018
Passengers 43,500 32,000 43,000 40,000
Bus Fleet 36 44 70 60
Routes 6 4 3 4

BRT Stations in operation Bester,Tlhabane, Ferncrest, Dr Moroka, Olympia Park, Rustenburg North, Oliver Tambo CBD Van Belkum, Tshireletso, Paardekraal,B-Town, Boitekong.

Central Station later in 2017 Chachalaza, Thekwane, Bospoort Dam
Bus Stops 105 135 130 50
Areas covered Bester, Tlhabane, Rustenburg North Geelhoutpark, Protea Park, Boschdal, Cashan, Safari Park, Azalea Park, Waterval East, Waterfall Mall Rustenburg North, Zinniaville, Ramochana, Sunrise Park, Paardekraal, Meriting, Freedom Park, Wildebeesfontein, Boitekong Chachalaza, Thekwane, Kanana