Rea Vaya’s first phase gets rolling

brt phase1a

The first bus on the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit system drove off in 2009, linking the south-west of Joburg with the east. Landmark bus stations were established, and dedicated bus lanes were built.


One of the JDA’s largest projects has been to design and implement the infrastructure behind the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, including the impressive glass bus stations which have become Joburg landmarks.

The JDA is the managing agent responsible for the appointment of companies to construct the BRT system and fulfils an oversight role of the construction network roll-out on behalf of the City of Johannesburg.

Rea Vaya first phase, Phase 1A, began operations on 30 August 2009 in Soweto, with one trunk route running from Soweto in the west through the CBD to Ellis Park in the east, complemented by feeder buses running an Inner City route.

Additional feeder buses were added, from Protea Glen to Thokoza Park and from Eldorado Park to Lakeview. Phase 1A covers 325 kilometres of special lanes and intersections, all of it the work of the JDA. The project gave a significant boost to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, transporting 307 000 passengers during the contest. And the JDA’s infrastructure work was finished well ahead of the FIFA deadlines.

The most prominent visual aspect of Rea Vaya is the eye-catching stations built of red steel tubing and curved glass panels. They are designed to offer passengers shelter from the elements, safety and comfortable seating. Artworks have been sandblasted on to the glass panels at all the Rea Vaya stations. Commissioned by the JDA, the BRT Station Public Art project celebrates the diverse stories that define Joburg and its residents.

Each work is specific to the station and its surrounds, as well as the community it serves. The project is managed and implemented by a consortium consisting of The Trinity Session, Turkis and Urban Works, but the final designs are selected by a group of local artists. Some of the stations are connected to underground subways, feeding, for example, into the Gautrain system.

Less prominent, but equally important, has been the JDA’s work in building the two massive bus depots. The agency was also responsible for rebuilding hundreds of kilometres of road infrastructure to create the dedicated lanes required by the buses.