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Construction of Phase 1 C of the City of Johannesburg Rea Vaya bus rapid transit system (BRT) has started, linking the central business district with the historic township of Alexandra and Sandton.
 
Director of marketing and communications at Rea Vaya, Benny Makgoga  says it’s all systems go with plans to extend the reach of fast and affordable transport to citizens of the city. 
 
Phase 1C is expected to be complete by 2016 and buses will run down Louis Botha Avenue to Alexandra, creating yet another Corridor of Freedom. This will lead to extensive revitalisation and generation of areas along this route, as has been the case with Phase 1A and Phase 1B. 
 
Suburbs like Hillbrow, Berea, Yeoville, Orange Grove, Marlboro and Wynberg leading to Alexandra will receive much-needed attention during construction. This includes the upgrading of roads, building of pedestrian bridges, pathways for cycling and walking, beautification of road islands and kerbs. 
 
The Phase 1C plan foresees the building of three multi-modal interchanges at Sandton, Westgate and Pan Africa Square in Alexandra, to enable Rea Vaya passengers easier access to Gautrain and Metro Rail stations, Metrobus, mini bus and metered taxis.
 
Construction of Phase 1C follows hard on the heels of the launch of Phase 1B in October 2013. The east-west route opened after a long delay, largely due to negotiations between the City of Johannesburg, taxi associations affected by operations of Rea Vaya along the route and the Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco).
The commissioning of Phase 1B trunk route saw the opening of new complimentary and feeder services. Two feeder routes, F6 and F8, and one complimentary route, C5, opened on 11 November 2013. On 13 January 2014, Rea Vaya launched feeder routes F7, F9 and F10 in Soweto and Amalgam.  
 
Greymont feeder route (F8) travels between Greymont and Westbury station to connect the main trunk route, whilst the Lea Glen feeder route (F6) travels between Lea Glen along Main Reef Road to Bosmont station to connect the main trunk route. The C5 complimentary route starts from Ontdekkers and Condrad to connect the main trunk route (T3) at Helen Joseph station to Library Garden station.
 
“We will be opening more feeder routes on 17 February 2014. F11 will see feeder buses linking Yeoville to the Joburg CBD, and F12 which will see buses running between Parktown and the Joburg CBD,” says Makgoga.
 
Other complimentary routes opening soon include C4, linking Cresta and Windsor to the Phase 1B main trunk route; C6 linking Dobsonville to Orlando Stadium; and the extension of the C2 route which will now run all the way to the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus from Ndingilizi in Dobsonville. “This route will come in handy for students,” Makgoga says. 
 
Makgoga says of particular note about these routes is that Phase 1A and 1B connect a series of schools, hospitals, universities, police stations, libraries, golf courses, recreational facilities and industrial areas.
 
“These are what we call Corridors of Freedom which ensure all residents have easy access to recreational facilities, shopping centres, institutions of learning and medical facilities, among other things.”
 
The main trunk route for Phase 1B, running from Soweto through Noordgesig, Pennyville, Riverlea, Bosmont, Coronationville, Newclare, Westbury, Westdene, Melville, Auckland Park, Parktown and Braamfontein into the CBD, passes through key public hospitals such as Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph and Charlotte Maxeke, as well as educational institutions like the University of Johannesburg, Wits University, Milpark College, Parktown Boys High School and Barnato Park High School.
 
The Corridors of Freedom, composed of six priority corridors, were revealed by the executive mayor for the City of Johannesburg, Councilor Mpho Parks Tau, during his State of the City Address in May 2013. He said these corridors will ensure “a free and united Joburg”, resulting in significant social and cultural interaction among residents.
 
“Phase 1C will see more places of interest, schools, recreational facilities and industrial areas being included as part of the Corridors of Freedom,” says Makgoga.
 
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