Historic moment for Tshwane BRT service

COMPRESSED natural gas (CNG) is being used for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa to power buses in the A Re Yeng bus rapid transit (BRT) service in the City of Tshwane. 40 of the 84 new buses expected for delivery for the second phase of A Re Yeng operations, Line 1A and Line 2A (current route in operation), will run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

The trunk route for Line 1A runs between the Pretoria central business district, along Paul Kruger Street and Mansfield Avenue, to Wonderboom Station. The trunk service consists of five stations and one interim passenger transfer facility at Wonderboom Station and covers a distance of 14 km. The names of the stations are Rivonia Trial Station, Molefe Makinta Station, Anton Lembede Station, Enoch Sontonga Station and Moses Morudu Station. The Wonderboom intermodal facility (a bus, rail and taxi interchange) is in the design stage, with construction expected to start soon.

The roll-out of CNG buses is part of the City of Tshwane’s commitment to providing an efficient transport service and transforming the existing system into a more sustainable form of transport. CNG buses have many benefits compared to normal diesel buses because they release fewer gaseous emissions and are environmentally friendly. They make much less noise, have lower maintenance costs than vehicles powered by hydrocarbon fuel, and will cost the City 40% less to operate.

CNG is a renewable energy source that is obtained from various gas fields. It is a viable and safe alternative fuel source that offers numerous benefits. It is ideal for use in areas that depend on heavy industry and for powering public transport. Natural gas is the only abundant, eco-friendly, economically viable fuel with the infrastructure required to supply the world’s automotive fleet in the foreseeable future.

The City of Tshwane has chosen CNG because natural gas burns cleaner than diesel. Using it cuts fuel costs by up to 40%, carbon dioxide emission by 25%, and carbon monoxide emission by 20%. It does not produce particulates (ash) and cuts nitrogen oxide emission by up to 90%. Further, CNG is colourless, odourless and non-toxic, and it is a renewable source of energy.

The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, said that they are excited and waiting with bated breath for the arrival of the new buses, which are expected to start coming off the production line from November 2015 until January 2016. Of the 84 busses that run on diesel, 37 will be ready by the end of November 2015.

“We are also expecting delivery of seven 18 metre articulated buses in January 2016 and 40 CNG buses between November 2015 and January 2016,” the Executive Mayor said.

Furthermore, the Tshwane Rapid Transit (TRT), which is a trust appointed by affected operators to run A Re Yeng operations, revealed that the TRT was in the process of training new drivers. The bus drivers will be trained in customer care skills, routes and procedures.

This means that the new drivers will need to get used to the routes they will be driving, memorise all stops and stations, practise docking at stops and stations without any inconvenience to passengers, and carry out safety exercises, which include drills on handling fire, emergency breakdowns and power failures. However, this time round, only 42 new drivers will undergo the rigorous training as compared to 48 last year.

Archive 2019

August
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