oa Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management - Public transport policy implementation in South Africa : ? : original research

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2310-8789
  • E-ISSN: 1995-5235



For many years the South African government has put forward policies and strategies to improve and promote public transport. Despite this, very little has changed over the last 30 years, although projects such as the Gautrain high-speed rail service and a few bus rapid transit routes have been introduced recently. These projects, however, are not integrated in a logical manner into the broader public transport system and are often referred to as standalone interventions because of a lack of managing public transport in terms of integrated transport plans. The traditional commuter rail, bus and 16-seat taxi industries therefore operate in policy silos and, in the case of the bus and rail industries, are planned and funded independently of each other, leading to a further lack of integration. Policy interventions have been implemented partially or not at all, leaving the public transport sector in a state of flux. The methodology followed in researching this paper was to briefly trace the historical public transport policy developments, with a focus on the commuter bus industry, in order to identify possible impediments to policy implementation and to identify policy interventions for addressing the currently stalled policy implementation programme. The main finding of the paper is that it would be advisable to establish provincial transport authorities between local and provincial governments. That should speed up the development and implementation of integrated transport plans, which ought to lead to integrated public transport systems and a more optimal spend of the available governmental funds aimed at subsidising public transport.

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