Policies and Legislation Governing Public Transportation
The provision and management of affordable, well-connected and reliable modern public transportation systems, particularly in cities of the developing world are critical in ensuring both smart cities and mobility within them. Several scholars have for a long time observed that efficient and effective urban public transport is not only important for city dwellers but also assist in facilitating the functioning of cities (Cardinale et al. 2014; Potter and Skinner 2000; Perl and Goetz 2015; Schwaberger 2014). It goes without saying that an accessible, reliable, convenient and affordable urban public transport system enables the swift movement of commuters from one location to another, thus promoting the physical and socio-economic development of cities and their residents (Tan et al. 2008; Tanahashi et al. 2012; Scoppetta 2014a, b; Szczech 2014; Tillner 2014; Zhukova and Smirnova 2014; Zhou 2014; Zhukova 2014).
Notwithstanding the evident benefits of modern urban public transport systems, governments of the developing world at all levels, have been struggling to plan for, develop and manage public transport systems of acceptable standards (Musakwa 2014).
African governments in particular, have been struggling to provide well-coordinated, efficient, effective, reliable and affordable public transport systems in their ever-growing cities spatially and demographically (Cervero 2013). Consequently, there have been spirited efforts in most African countries to not only enact relevant urban transport legislative frameworks and formulate policies but also their implementation to facilitate the development and management of efficient and effective modern public transport systems.
Notably, South Africa is one of the few African countries that have made concerted efforts to improve their public transport systems. The economies and populations in South African cities are ever growing hence efficient and effective urban public transport systems have become integral for the daily lives of South Africans, hence the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the Rapid Railway Systems (Gautrain) have been implemented since the beginning of the new millennium. Several Metropolitan cities in South Africa that have been adopting and introducing modern urban public transport systems include the City of Tshwane, City of Johannesburg, City of Ekurhuleni, City of Cape Town and the City of Ethekwini metropolitan municipality. The innovations have been implemented to reduce travel time, lessen traffic congestion, create employment opportunities for citizens and minimize greenhouse emissions. Consequently, South Africa has been adopting several enabling policies and legislative instruments to promote innovative urban public transport systems since the realization of the democratic dispensation in 1994 and these commenced with the National Constitution of 1996; The Green Paper on National Transport Policy that was launched in early 1996 that culminated in the adoption of the National Transport Policy White Paper later in the same year.
Recently there has the National Rail Policy Green paper was launched in 2015 to solicit views and ways of facilitating the planning and development of improved railway transport systems within the country. In particular, the province of Gauteng, which is the economic hub of the country, is experiencing an ever-increasing demand for public transport hence the adoption of the innovations in public transport systems. Consequently, the province adopted the Gauteng’s 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan that seeks to improve urban public transport systems within the province. Other policies that sought to promote and support public transport in Johannesburg include, the National Rail Policy Green Paper of 2015, National Transport Policy Green and White Papers of 1996 and the Gauteng’s 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan of 2013 (ITMP 25) (Gauteng Government 2013). The ITMP 25 plan seeks to achieve several objectives through the adoption and implementation of several strategies and among others they include the provision of responsive and efficient urban public transport systems that is well linked and connected to promote its use and reduce reliance on private modes of transport. Consequently this has given rise to BRT systems such as the Are yeng in Pretoria, Reya Vaya in Johannesburg and the high-speed railway (Gautrain).