Public Transportation in South Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

David P. Thomas


This article engages with several important questions regarding the state of public transportation in South Africa. It provides a brief description of the historical legacy of apartheid in relation to public transport, and the challenges this posed to the government after 1994. This is followed by a summary of the changing policy frameworks in the post-apartheid era, and an examination of the current policies, trajectories, and major transportation projects within the country. For example, this includes a more detailed discussion of major infrastructure projects such as the Gautrain and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the form of Rea Vaya. Overall, the article argues that the South African government is struggling to build an inclusive public transportation infrastructure that addresses issues of poverty, access, and inequality. Finally, the article will conclude with a set of recommendations to build a more inclusive transportation policy framework for South Africa.

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