Transport the key focus for 2010
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While much of the focus of preparations for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup has until now centred on the stadium, it is the other legacies from 2010 - such as transport, infrastructure, and social and economic growth - that will have a bigger and more lasting impact on the lives of Capetonians.
Improving the city's public transport system is undoubtedly the most enduring legacy project. The state of public transport in Cape Town is in dire need of attention, and 2010 has provided a timely impetus to address this - for both the tournament and long-term.
The City of Cape Town, the provincial government of the Western Cape and other stakeholders were all involved in the development of the 2010 High Level Transport Operations Plan which was completed in May this year.
Work is about to commence on the Detailed Transport Operations Plan to meet the December 2008 deadline for submitting this plan to FIFA. This joint initiative looks not only look at transporting fans during the event, but more importantly, putting infrastructure in place that will have a lasting benefit for the city's public transport.
The City's 2010 director Teral Cullen says the City and province have been discussing this transport infrastructure, and have agreed on a transport priority statement, which prioritises the most critical projects that need funding approval and action, in order to be ready for 2010.
The key proposals include major improvements to the road and rail networks; station upgrades; new trains and buses; new long-distance bus and taxi stations; improved commuter safety and security; a single ticket public transport system; better transport information; park and ride facilities; improved cycle and pedestrian environments; and a R1.2-billion upgrade of the airport.
Some of the improvements have already taken place, such as the widening of the N2 and the introduction of dedicated public transport lanes. The upgrading of the Koeberg N1-M5 interchange and the expansion and upgrade of Klipfontein Corridor are in the pipeline.
There has still not been a final decision on whether the proposed rail link to the airport will be built - and if approved - finished in time for 2010.
"We are using the opportunity to upgrade public transport, to attract more people to public transport, so that hopefully after the event we get more people using it," says 2010 Transport Manager Ron Kingma.
The 2010 business plan involves getting fans into the city by public transport and maximising the use of non-motorised transport, such as pedestrian movement and cycling.
"The key strategy we have in place is to establish remote park and ride and interchange facilities from where people will be transported to the city centre by rail and bus. From there we've created a fan mile, linking the city and station to Green Point Stadium.
"The plan is that fans will walk along this route, where there will be economic opportunities for trade - such as eating and drinking outlets - so that the walk to the stadium becomes an activity in itself. Having them walking along the fan mile will also spread the load of spectators, so they don't all arrive at the stadium at the same time, it will be like a sponge that absorbs the stadium queue. And there will be a similar process after the event, when they are leaving," said Kingma.
The same public transport options that brought them into the city centre will also take spectators home.
While the City is focusing on transport in its boundaries, the province is looking into improving public transport between other towns in the Western Cape. Given that accommodation is likely to be at a premium in the city, it is likely fans will stay outside of the city, and need to have public transport available. The improved long-distance bus and taxi terminal will partly address this.
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