“All commuter transport should be in control by one body that makes all decisions,” Vaughan Mostert, a transport economics lecturer at the University of Johannesburg told CNBC Africa.
Mostert’s proposition follows after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) appeal to stop urban tolling.
Outa have been challenging the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) inside and outside of the court since the introduction of the tolling system in Johannesburg.
“It’s a story that has been running now for a long time and I don’t think anyone can really predict what’s going to happen. We’ve already had a number of court decisions giving conflicting results,” said Mostert.
“It seems to me that we can be assured of one thing only, we’ve got to pay for all of this one way or the other, whether it’s by way of a toll, fuel levies or straight tax.”
He therefore advises that firstly, the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, meet with her top Members of the Executive Council (MEC) to discuss the removal of unproductive officials within the Department of Transport and replace them with better skilled leaders.
Once the department has better skilled leaders in place, the main issue of fixing public transport can be addressed more effectively.
“We need to fix public transport and we are not doing enough to achieve that. Until that happens I’m afraid we’re going to have to dig deep in our pockets in future,” Mostert added.
Next, he continued, the executive board of Sanral should be reconstituted so that all commuter transport within South Africa is controlled by one national body as the current fragmentation that exists in the public transport space is costing the country.
For instance, the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT), also known as Rea Vaya BRT as well as the Gautrain are being run by separate agencies.
“With the BRT being introduced separately and Gautrain busses running empty, it is a national economic disgrace,”Mostert exclaimed.
Mike Schussler, chief economist for the economist.co.za, added that previously, South Africa’s national transport company, Transnet, held committee meetings where they discussed the option of introducing a single public ticket to use for all modes of commuter transport in the country.
However, several years down the line and the concept never came into play.