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Joburg’s bus-rapid transit applauded as cost cutter

Johannesburg's bus network has saved South Africa nearly US$900 million by reducing travel times, slashing emissions and enhancing safety, according to a new report. (Rea Vaya)

Johannesburg’s bus-rapid transit network cuts much more than commuting time. Lily Kuo and Sibusiso Tshabalala report for Quartz that the system has saved South Africa an estimated US$892 million in transit expenses and pollution-related costs since it launched.

The figure is contained in a recent report on “low-carbon development” from the New Climate Economy, part of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The savings result from reduced travel times, increased road safety and fewer exhaust emissions, Kuo and Tshabalala note.

Joburg’s system is called Rea Vaya, which translates as “We are going” in South African township slang, the article says. According to this timeline, the system began operation in 2009.

The findings could help cities justify the upfront expenses associated with deploying dedicated bus lanes. BRT combined with a number of other clean transportation initiatives in the world’s major cities could save municipalities up to $16.6 trillion (US) by 2050 and curb emissions by several tons, the New Climate Economy report says.


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