|Take a taxi to work this month|
|Written by Makoena Pabale|
|Monday, 06 October 2008|
October is Public Transport Month, and this year the focus is on saving the environment and cutting travelling costs.
ONCE again, car owners are being encouraged to preserve "Mother Earth" for future generations by using public transport.
This was said by the Gauteng MEC for transport, roads and works, Ignatius Jacobs, at the launch of Public Transport Month on Thursday, 2 October at the Marlboro Licensing and Testing Station in Marlboro, next to Alexandra in Region E.
Jacobs urged people to not only use public transport during the official Public Transport Month, but to use it as often as they could, as this would enable them to reduce their traveling costs and save the environment.
Some of the key elements that this year's campaign will focus are building a people-friendly public transport system that cares for its communities; ensuring respect for life by focusing on the safety of women, children, youth and people with disabilities; promoting Batho Pele principles; and promoting non-motorised means of transport, such as cycling and walking.
"We are also pursuing the transformation of the public transport sector and that of the broader transport landscape in terms of spatial planning and design," Jacobs said. This included the promotion of densification policies in the planning of transport infrastructure. "In this regard, we are promoting the birth of new communities along the path of transport corridors so as to reduce the cost of traveling for the working population."
"We are confident that this has laid a firm foundation for this industry to take its rightful place among public transport operators, including positioning itself for the 2010 FIFA World Cupô," Jacobs explained.
Speaking about his own habits, the MEC said: "I use public transport a lot because I am in the business of preserving Mother Earth for future generations. It is also the best way to save on traveling expenses to and from work."
According to Eezi Raboroko, the chief director of transportation management in Gauteng, there are benefits to public transport systems. It encouraged community interaction, could reduce environmental damage, and was cheap.
A car was tested at the launch to see if it was environmentally friendly, by checking the amount of carbon dioxide it produced. It produced 15 percent carbon dioxide, way above the poor percentage of 12 percent for a 1990 car model. To reduce the production of toxic emissions, the cars must undergo regular maintenance.
Plenty of activities have been planned for the annual Public Transport Month, with Car Free Day on Monday, 20 October being the key activity. On this day, people will be expected to be less reliant on their vehicles; it will enable the government to monitor the results of the month's efforts. Public Transport Month ends on Friday, 31 October with the opening of the first Bus Rapid Transit station at Joubert Park.