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Rea Vaya runs smoothly

VANDALISM will not be tolerated by the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which has brought the police on board to help ensure the safety of passengers and staff.

After two attacks on the public transport service, Rehana Moosajee, the member of the mayoral committee for transport, said the City's experience over the past two days affirmed that Rea Vaya was a most resilient and versatile system capable of withstanding increased capacity under all conditions.

According to the Rea Vaya website, the Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) has cracked down to prevent major damage to the buses and stations.

On the night of 15 March, an incident of rock throwing was reported, as was an attempt to petrol bomb a bus. The JMPD responded speedily to prevent any major damage. A passenger sustained slight injury from broken glass and was treated at hospital.

The following day, a brick was thrown through the windscreen of a Rea Vaya bus; the police arrested a suspect.

BRT routes are being patrolled by law enforcement agencies, which have been brought in to protect passengers, staff and vehicles against people opposed to the system.

On Wednesday, 17 March, Edna Mamonyane, the JMPD spokesperson, said metro police and the South African Police Service were constantly patrolling to make sure there were no further incidents.

New feeder routes began operating on Monday, 15 March, transporting passengers from various parts of Soweto to Rea Vaya trunk route stations; complementary buses also began plying new routes.

The routes connecting Soweto with the inner city and Ellis Park continue to work well and the buses are full. Some taxis withdrew their services on Monday and Tuesday to coincide with the roll out of the Rea Vaya feeder routes, putting pressure on the Rea Vaya buses to deal with increased numbers of commuters.

"We trust that the smooth nature of operations today becomes the defining feature for how services will work for the rest of this week and even further when operations so require," said Moosajee.

"We remain very grateful for the patronage and determination in the entire Rea Vaya value chain: from passengers to drivers, from the law enforcement agencies to the back office staff monitoring the technologically advanced Control Centre. These are the real heroes who make Joburg great."