George integrated public transport network entering final stages of implementation

Eugene von Brandis MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Economic development and tourism

Representatives of the Western Cape provincial Department of Transport and Public Works appeared today before the standing committee on Finance, Economic Development and Tourism (SCOF) to give a progress report on the George Integrated Public Transport Network (GIPTN).

The network is a flagship intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between national, provincial and local government. This form of agreement is a first for South Africa and has been billed as an emerging city model that can be replicated in non-metro areas around the country.

The GIPTN also supports the aims of the National Land Transport Act which seeks to further the process of transforming and restructuring South Africa’s land transport system.

As DA Spokesperson on Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape, and as chairperson of the standing committee, my fellow committee members and I were able to engage the Department on the rollout of the GIPTN and look over some of the finer details around the budgets, financing and projected timelines of the project.

The Department has assured the committee that the GIPTN will be South Africa’s cheapest transport model. In June of 2013 when the Department last appeared before the committee, it was estimated that the service will make 9 million passenger trips over 6 million kms along 28 routes. The network will also include inter-town services to Mossel Bay, Knysna and Oudtshoorn.

In today’s briefing, leading on from the Department’s last meeting on the matter in 2013, the Department highlighted some of the recent developments of the project.

In June 2013, all three taxi associations and 1 bus company in the George area were party to the compensation agreement.

In October 2013, the George Municipality, the Provincial Government and the operating company CGLU Transport Services signed the operator contract effectively paving the way for GIPTN reaching full capacity in mid-2014.

In January 2014, the vehicle operating company was formalized and an inaugural annual general meeting with a full shareholder body took place.

Tendering for the GIPTN’s vehicles has been completed and the procurement of the vehicles will begin within the coming months. Fixed infrastructure such as bus stops, intersections, traffic circles and road upgrades are in the process of being either constructed or upgraded.

The rollout of the GIPTN has been the culmination of eight exhaustive years of lobbying, studying, planning and implementation. It will provide transport to an estimated 24 000 people with projected increases as the project matures.

The GIPTN will close the gaps giving those living outside the George CBD greater access to the town’s amenities and services. Given current pressures we welcome the greater use of safe and reliable public transport.

The committee commends the department for its efforts in making this project a reality, a plan which will benefit the city and commuters alike.

I extend my best wishes and support to the department as they enter the final stages of this modern and localised transport network.