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Jo’burg Bus Rapid Transit considering Mercedes-Benz safety as a prime choice

Javier Cajiao, Chief Operating Officer of PioTrans in Bus Rapid Transit
Javier Cajiao, Chief Operating Officer of PioTrans

A rapidly improving public transport system has allowed Johannesburg to claim its place as a world-class African city, and Mercedes- Benz South Africa (MBSA) Bus and Coach continues to play a vital role in enabling this progression.

In 2013, MBSA Bus and Coach was part of the winning tender, and has since then supplied bus chassis to this thriving metropole, strengthening the partnership between MBSA Bus and Coach, the City of Johannesburg and PioTrans, the company which manages the operation of all the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit buses.

“Johannesburg follows a tender system when selecting a service provider, such as buses for the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit project…”

“Johannesburg follows a tender system when selecting a service provider, such as buses for the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit project, which transports commuters from Soweto to the CBD,” says Benny Makgoga, Director of Service Promotions for the City of Johannesburg. “The process involves us looking at technical and other specifications that will benefit not only passengers, but other stakeholders as well.

We consider quality, durability and job creation as critical aspects. The Mercedes – Benz buses have about 80% local content, and this also has a positive spinoff for local suppliers,” Makgoga adds.

“A good bus also means that it has to stay a good bus throughout its life-cycle

Benny Makgoga, Director of Service Promotions for Johannesburg.
Benny Makgoga, Director of Service Promotions for Johannesburg.

Javier Cajiao, Chief Operating Officer for PioTrans, says: “The Mercedes- Benz buses met requirements that were stipulated by Johannesburg. Of course, this was only the beginning of a reliable system. A good bus also means that it has to stay a good bus throughout its life-cycle.

“When it comes to the people who rely on the buses for their daily commute, features such as design, functionality and appeal are dwarfed by what most passengers consider to be the most important factor for them: safety,” continues Cajiao. And Makgogo adds: “Think about the number of accidents that happen on our roads, and as careful as our drivers are behind the wheel, some accidents will still happen.

“Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya was the first high-capacity Bus Rapid Transit system implemented in Africa servicing millions of passengers a year

It is significant therefore that Mercedes-Benz has earned its top spot in terms of safety.” Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya was the first high-capacity Bus Rapid Transit system implemented in Africa and services millions of passengers a year. Cajiao says that for commuters, these vehicles represent more than just a way to travel between various destinations.

“Quality of life is one of the main reasons why Rea Vaya (Bus Rapid Transit) was introduced in the first place. There are few transport alternatives that are as safe and reliable,” says Cajiao. “Commuters travelling in our buses are comfortable as these vehicles offer extra convenience by travelling in dedicated lanes, being on time, and with reduced travel time – all of which make life a lot easier for passengers.”

“Quality of life is one of the main reasons why Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit was introduced in the first place. There are few transport alternatives that are as safe and reliable…”

“Added value is the Wi-Fi access at all Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit stations. Our buses also have LED screens that display pertinent information such as schedule adjustments and possible route deviations,” says Makgoga. The Mercedes-Benz buses also cater for the physically disabled, a feature that these passengers appreciate.

“The feeder buses have wheelchair-friendly spaces and this is something that makes the journey much better for all of our passengers,” concludes Cajiao.

 
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Tristan Wiggill
Seasoned writer, journalist, photographer, and editor.
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