A different approach
Public transport is much more than just a way to get to work or to the shops. For many people, it is an integral part of their daily lives.
For Rehana Moosajee, member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for transportation in Johannesburg, public transport is also about dignity and quality of life.
“In Johannesburg – and in the rest of South Africa – we have a situation where poor people live far from the economic hubs and are dependent on public transport to get to work. Over the years they had to make do with sub-standard public transport, because they had no choice.
“We need to change the image of public transport in South Africa. We must ensure that our public transport system is not a classist system used by the poor only. Public transport is for everybody. Imagine how your quality of life will improve if you do not have to sit in traffic for two hours every day on your way to work!”
Moosajee says women are important users of public transport because they are often the primary caretakers of children and mainly responsible for doing the household shopping. Public transport should be easily accessible to them.
“Public transport can open a new world to people. It can take people out of their immediate environment and enable them to visit new places, such as libraries and zoos.”
She believes that we live in a very male-dominated society when it comes to transport. “We need a female perspective. Women bring a people-centred approach to any industry.”
Moosajee, who is married and has two children, is a strong believer in gender equality, especially in the work place. Her ideal is a city where women and children are safe. “What we need is a city where women and children can walk to the shops or to visit friends without worrying about their safety.”
She says using public transport also has long-term benefits for any society.
“From an environmental point of view public transport can be part of the solution. It alleviates congestion and reduces pollution.”