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Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ERIC MALEMA
Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ERIC MALEMA

A my recently written unpublished book on "lost opportunities" in some aspects of transport in SA concludes that there is a need for a widespread change-orientated approach if effective and efficient public passenger transport in SA’s metropolitan areas is to meet the needs of the public.

At the very least some of the lost opportunities during past decades need to be revisited, and some fundamental issues need to be addressed. Of importance is to address the element of destructive competition both within the taxi industry and between it and the other modes of transport. The problem of restructuring public transport and creating an urban form supporting public transport, as well as removing the dominance of the private car, needs to be addressed on several fronts.

The creation of a new-look public transport system will not be easily tackled by small-scale changes over time, but requires institutional re-alignment, a capacity-orientated approach to regulatory control and enforcement, and significant investment, both in monetary and particularly personnel terms, embracing a paradigm change and a quantum leap in innovative and perceptive thinking.

Do our transport institutions at all three levels of government in SA have the capacity as well as the will to do so?

Dr Malcolm Mitchell

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