Poverty in South Africa Exacerbated by poor transport
Article Source: Business.iafrica.com
Poverty in South Africa is made worse by the lack of access to transport, Minister of Transport, Jeff Radebe, said on Friday.
Radebe was addressing a conference on public transport and the African chapter of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) on the East Rand.
"Poverty is exacerbated in most instances by lack of access to transport," he said.
"We have instances in our country where travel times just to access employment being in excess of two hours in one direction."
Radebe said public transport should be at least one to two kilometres distance in an urban area and at least five kilometres in a rural area.
He said the central goal of the ANC's economic policy was to eliminate poverty and extreme inequalities and through investments in transport services and infrastructure, the system "should" be able to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
Economy approximately 40% bigger
He said the economy was approximately 40 percent bigger than in 1993 and to strengthen the transport system the government had allocated R70-billion to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
Currently the majority of bus services and commuter rail services were subsidised, however, the taxi industry — although not subsidised — was more flexible in meeting the demand for transport.
He said traffic congestion and growing private car ownership impacted on travel times, distances and costs.
Single occupancy vehicles also negatively affected public transport users — who were stuck in traffic as a result of these vehicles.
The Minister said there had been mixed reaction to the high occupancy lane vehicle projects operating in October 2006 but 90 percent of the people who took part in the project said they would like to see the lane implemented permanently.
Four key policy imperatives
Radebe cited four key policy imperatives that government was addressing.
These were making public transport more affordable, reducing travel time and distance and improving its access to users.
Based on the four key areas of concern, the department was in the process of finalising the plans for the Public Transport Strategy — approved by Cabinet in 2007.
It would also develop Integrated Rapid Transport Networks over the medium to long term.
"All these initiatives will improve our public transport, but we have an opportunity with the 2010 FIFA World Cup to fast track the legacy of public transport."
Radebe said the initiatives by the provinces and especially the host cities would ensure that the interventions for the event would also result in an improvement in public transport infrastructure and operations.
"Government has committed more than R9.2-billion from the Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems Grant for 2010 interventions, with most of the funds supporting the Host Cities," he said.
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