Public Transport Skills

South African cities are latecomers to integrated rapid transit (IRT). Chronic underinvestment in mass transit during Apartheid and the complex division of powers, functions and responsibilities across all three spheres of government have been major challenges to realising the vision of mass integrated rapid transit. Government has recognised that IRT can contribute to urban spatial transformation and help redress the imbalances of the past. What is not clear is whether South Africa has the skills necessary for IRT. To date, there has been no thorough analysis or framing of the skills required to plan, operate and manage integrated transport effectively. This has resulted in unsubstantiated claims that South Africa lacks the necessary transport skills. Therefore, the SA Cities Network has undertaken research into the skills and capacities required for IRT and developed a framework that can be used to assess the skills capacity of city transport authorities. This research is the first step along a much longer journey of analysing and unpacking the skills and capacities required for IRT, which is a complex system. IRT is a multidisciplinary domain and is fundamentally linked to the urban built environment. The activities of a transit/transport authority are not linear, and identifying functional boundaries is difficult. Thus this report does not claim to provide any absolute answers. However, what is certain is that people make systems run efficiently and that rapid transit is as much a human system as it is a mechanical system.