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Survey reveals transport costs are high in Gauteng

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The annual Gauteng household travel survey has revealed that nearly 60% of households spent more than 10% of their income on public transport in 2019-20, which is the maximum policy target.

According to the survey, the figure increased from 55% in 2014.

The 2019-20 survey was conducted and compiled by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport.

More than 30 000 residents of cities in Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni, as well as the districts of Sedibeng and West Rand participated in the survey.

Speaking at the official launch in Pretoria, Dr Mathetha Mokonyama, CSIR impact area manager for transport systems and operations said transport continued to contribute significantly to the increased cost of living and by extension the cost of doing business in Gauteng.

“Poorer households are the most impacted by Covid-19 from a transport perspective as they continue to spend more on public transport. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen and better financing models of public transport in the province,” he said.

The survey shows that average travel time has also increased 17% from 46 minutes in 2014 to 57 minutes in 2019-20.

Average travel time in the past 18 years has almost doubled.

Many choose to travel either earlier or later to avoid peak times. Travel times are particularly long for public transport trips and have deteriorated markedly for buses.

“There is a need to increase the capacity of the existing network, particularly higher-capacity public transport infrastructure and services,” said Mokonyama.

He said walking remained the predominant mode of travel in Gauteng, adding that systematic delivery of non-motorized transport infrastructure was critical for improved transport service delivery.

“Mre than 29% of trips in the peak period are ‘walking all the way’. Walking time to access the first public transport service increased from nine minutes in 2014, to 14 minutes.

“Accessing final destinations from public transport increased from eight to 14 minutes. Accessing of train services takes the longest,” he said.

Gauteng MEC for public transport and roads infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo commended the CSIR for compiling what he described as a “point of reference, data and information put together by an institution that is reputable, has integrity and thrives on excellence”.

Mamabolo described the report as the voice of commuters urging transport stakeholders to implement its findings and improving the lives of all commuters in the province.

“I want to take this opportunity to say to the leadership of the taxi industry that commuters are not satisfied with the taxi industry and this is clearly indicated in the report, as it relates to matters of safety in terms of accidents and the treatment of commuters,” he said.

“It is a matter that needs serious attention and it is worrying that the people are saying they would prefer other modes of transport like buses and trains.”

Mamabolo added that it was very clear commuters were financially distressed.

“The cost of transport remains one of our biggest challenges. We need to look at the integration of public transport and subsidies for public transport modes so that we can empower commuters to make choices and lower the costs of travel in order to boost household income,” Mamabolo said.

-The Citizen

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