The City of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system has been nominated for the C40 City Climate Leadership Awards.

The city’s Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau is in New York City to attend the awards ceremony, which will be held at the Manhattan Centre today.

The nomination comes after the city hosted the fifth biennial C40 Mayors’ Summit in February, during which it unveiled its first two buses powered by a combination of biogas and diesel. It was also the first time that the summit was held on the African continent.

 

Creating a sustainable environment

“This nomination is testimony that as a city we are on track to creating a resilient and sustainable environment for our citizens as expressed in our 2040 Growth and Development Strategy,” says Tau.

He believes the Rea Vaya BRT system is one of the most ambitious projects the city has ever undertaken to improve its public transport system and reduce congestion on our public roads. However, its most crucial element is its capacity to reduce carbon emissions.

“If 15% of car users within the Rea Vaya corridor switch to this system, an equivalent of about 380 000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions per annum can be achieved.”

Tau estimates that once the BRT system is fully operational it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six million tons of CO₂₋ₑ by 2030.

The bus fleet for the first phase of the BRT system implementation was of Euro IV emission standards. The second fleet also met the Euro V standards. The city is now set to launch a new dual-fuel fleet for the third phase in 2016 while it explores the idea of extensively using the biogas and diesel combination.

 

Tau to attend meetings on climate change

During his four-day working visit to the United States Tau will also attend the C40 annual in-person steering committee meeting.

He will, among other things, attend a private meeting with the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg in his current capacity as the UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change, as well as C40 President and Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes to discuss mayoral leadership issues and the work of the C40 Cities ahead of COP21 climate change summit to be held in France in December next year.