Author:vaughan-mostert

Car sales figures – who cares?

We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by irrelevant statistics when it comes to private motoring For several years we have been fed a diet of monthly sales figures, such as: “The Collida is up by 2,6 percent. The Crashida is down by 0,7 percent. In February, the Bumpa outsold the Klonka for the first time since June last year.” Does that really tell us anything? I don’t think so, but some people do. Last month, Mercedes-Benz joined BMW […]

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Will the next new word be “dryfskam”?

Stranded assets. Just transition. Sunset industry. Ten years ago these terms were almost unheard of. Now they are part of everyday conversation. A more recent new word is flygskam. I predict that the next word will be dryfskam, which needs no explanation None of this is a concern for those who are buying bigger SUVs, driving at 300 km/h, spinning their cars and applying for another fuel station licence. But for those who are genuinely concerned and would like to […]

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Prasa and the master plan

Now that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is under administration, will this affect the various transport “master plans” out there? I don’t see it happening. In November last year, Business Day Motor News reported on a workshop organised by a transport engineering consultancy, where participants “plotted a vision” for the transport sector. Apparently someone has discovered that some minibus taxis are empty on their return trips. So we are going to have a pilot project using an […]

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Public transport needs lots of work

Vaughan Mostert wonders whether city councillors and municipal officials in Johannesburg and Durban have shares in the minibus-taxi industry – why else would they run empty buses and make no attempt to fix their public mobility services? We keep hearing that minibus taxis carry about 70 percent of all public transport passengers. My guess is that in places like Durban and Johannesburg, the figure is more than 80 percent. Is that a problem? Yes, because it means that only 20 […]

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Take the trolley to table mountain!

Across the world, very few big metropoles have attempted to realise the full potential of trolleybuses – but Cape Town could show them the way Fixing public transport worldwide should be one of our biggest priorities. Sadly, even in well-run countries it remains a topic laced with platitudes, wishful thinking and poor decision-making. Where does that leave South Africa, which is even further behind the curve with its collapsing Metrorail, stone-age minibus-taxi industry, uncoordinated bus services and wasteful projects like […]

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Greta and the professor

Over the years, through mismanagement and neglect, South Africa has allowed its public-transport services to waste away. So, what’s that got to do with Greta and the professor? VAUGHAN MOSTERT explains Most people have probably heard of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who has been skipping school on Fridays. She pops up at international forums, such as the World Economic Forum, to warn us of impending climate catastrophe. She has even met the Pope and has written […]

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Lessons from the Big Apple

Columnist Vaughan Mostert has been riding around on buses in both London and New York! He has some fascinating lessons to share from his experiences London and New York have two of the largest public-transport systems in the English-speaking world. Although both networks receive fierce criticism from locals, South Africa can learn a lot from them. Their subways keep both cities functioning, but the good work being done below ground level is cancelled out on the surface by choked streets. […]

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Energy denial?

Worldwide, the net is slowly closing in on our wasteful use of energy. Three articles in the Business Day of June 18 underlined some realities that South Africa, in particular, should have started to face, but we seem to prefer being in denial The first article reported on Norway’s decision to stop investing in fossil fuels in favour of clean energy. Its sovereign wealth fund is the largest in the world, with a trillion dollars under management. That adds up […]

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Let’s repeat the Mynah magic!

It seems our politicians will be using public transport in future. This is, however, not as simple as it sounds The Treasury has started cracking the whip among South Africa’s 257 municipalities, calling on mayors and senior municipal officials to start tightening up on wasteful expenditure. When it comes to transport, that means using “the municipal fleet” and “public shuttles” instead of expensive cars. Will these rules also be pushed upwards to include provincial officials as well as the blue-light […]

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Energy Lethargy?

South Africa’s recent general election proved that economical transport is not high on any political party’s agenda As part of South Africa’s sluggish response to the growing worldwide concern about climate change, a carbon tax kicked in last month. Although it is aimed at big emitters of carbon, the increase in fuel tax will knock on to everyone else as well. While a large number of people will complain that this is just another rip-off, there are also many South […]

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