South African cities have since 2010 embarked upon an intensive process to transform their public transport systems from a supply-driven and largely informal system, to a system that provides affordable, integrated and quality public transport to support mobility and access. Through the experience in implementing the first phase of services in the City of Cape Town, it emerged that the initial approach of replacing existing unsubsidized services with subsidized bus rapid transit services would not be financially sustainable if rolled out across the City. Transport for Cape Town appointed us to develop a business plan that would support a financially sustainable integrated public transport network.
The approach of providing formalized bus rapid transit services, including trunks and feeders, needed to be rethought. The team worked closely with the City of Cape Town to develop an approach to a transport network that leverages existing service providers, instead of replacing them, resulting in a ‘hybrid’ solution comprising rail, bus and improved minibus taxi services. In building this long-term vision, transit oriented development and emerging technologies, including integrated fare collection and on-demand app-based services, were key enablers. We followed an iterative process to understand the potential revised network and the financial implications, until a financially sustainable solution was developed that would provide improved services across Cape Town. This was developed into a business plan, which is being workshopped with key stakeholders, and is anticipated to form the way forward for rolling out financially sustainable public transport in Cape Town.