oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Past master 21
In present times the prospect of Bus Rapid Transit may be exciting the imagination, but the concept, and the public interest it has created is scarcely something new. In the 1850s there was a flurry of activity in the Cape Colony as tram transport became a definite possibility. The taxis of the time were the "omnibuses" - horse-drawn carriages, usually overcrowded, plying indefinite routes to irregular timetables in cutthroat competition with one another. To be fair, many performed a very useful function, providing a link with the outlying districts over unmade tracks in all kinds of weather. But the local services were less admirable. The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town were ripe for expansion, but the advantages of living in the countryside were offset by wage-earners having to travel daily to town in the uncomfortable, dusty and unreliable "buses".
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