South Africa will host the continent’s first World Cup in 2010, and in preparation for the event, the city of Johannesburg has been rebuilding its transportation system with a focus on a new bus rapid transit network. But threats and shootings by members of the city’s strong taxi drivers union suggests that the project’s full implementation will not come easily. In a city that desperately needs alternatives to its traffic congestion, this kind of opposition is counter-productive.
Johannesburg, the country’s largest city with a population of almost four million, already offers commuter rail service in the form of Metrorail, which carries two million passengers daily. The Gautrain project, currently under construction, will eventually connect downtown Johannesburg with the capital in Pretoria and the international airport.