South Africa-GTZ Bus Rapid Transit Johannesburg

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Johannesburg started planning a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in November 2006. For the city of Johannesburg and on behalf of KfW Entwicklungsbank, GTZ is working to create a network of bus routes totalling 120 kilometres in length by 2013. It will carry 430,000 passengers daily. The main routes will link the historically disadvantaged townships of Soweto and Alexandra to central Johannesburg.

With GTZ support, it is planned that, by the time of the Football World Cup in June 2010, 63 kilometres and 78 bus pickup/setdown points will have been completed, enabling football fans and others to travel by bus to the major stadiums. Development of the advanced public transport system has been ongoing since 2006, and GTZ has been working with 20 on-site experts since 2008. Together they have developed the operating concept and fares system, planned the bus routes and bus stops, purchased 143 buses, measured and marked out bus lanes and built the bus stops.

In addition, the GTZ experts developed a financing model for the city of Johannesburg to enable realistic cost estimates to be made. Based on this concept, the city will be able to estimate the extent to which income will cover costs and the size of any additional state subsidies necessary. Although the rapid bus transit system will help relieve urban traffic, it will also make many taxis redundant. In order to safeguard their livelihoods, taxi drivers will therefore be offered the opportunity to work for the city as bus drivers in future.

The BRT project, called “Rea Vaya” (which means “we are going”) aims to develop approximately 122 km of exclusive busways as Phase 1 of a high quality BRT mass transit system by 2013. Phase 1A, with 25.5 km of exclusive busways and 20 stations, will be completed by June 2009 and shall be operational before the Soccer Confederation Cup in June 2009. Phase 1B (intended to bring the total busways to 63km and the number of stations to 78) will be completed in time for the FIFA World Cup in June 2010. The BRT routes are designed to connect the major concentrations of visitors and spectators with the two major soccer stadia, at Ellis Park and Nasrec. The major BRT routes will link Soweto with central Johannesburg (CBD) via Nasrec, Soweto with Sandton via Parktown and Rosebank, and Sandton to the CBD and the stadia.

The legacy of the first phase will be a high-quality public transport system that meaningfully integrates Soweto and Alexandra, areas of historical disadvantage, into the rest of the City, and also provides a credible public transport alternative, for the first time, to residents of areas of high motor vehicle useage.


  1.  "GTZ’s Contribution to the Johannesburg Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project"
  2.  "Sustainable Urban Transport Project"