Command centre to co-ordinate World Cup traffic

The Department of Transport is to launch a “command centre” that will co-ordinate the transport plans for the nine host cities of the Soccer World Cup.

The command and call centre would serve as a central hub of co- ordination for transport operations, information management and risk assessment throughout SA during the World Cup.

Host cities such as Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town were required to draw up transport plans that provided details of their preparations for the movement of about 500000 fans during the World Cup.

George Mahlalela, the acting director-general of the department, said yesterday these cities had to create a plan that showed how many fans were going to stadiums, where they would be coming from, and how they would be transported.

Mahlalela said the host cities had submitted their transport plans to the national department, and the department was “satisfied” with them.

“We have evaluated the plans and all host cities are demonstrating readiness,” Mahlalela said.

The department had no concerns about the host cities’ operational plans. The command centre, expected to open at the end of next month, would keep records on how many buses, taxis and trains are operating within host cities and between them, and enable the department to keep track of the movement of fans.

The department would not “inject a massive investment” in the centre and would use its own staff to man it, Mahlalela said.

The centre could be either at the department’s head office in Pretoria or at the OR Tambo International Airport. Mahlalela said a decision would be made next month. Mahlalela said their next step would be to capture the different cities’ transport plans on their new centre system. The first phase of preparations had been to set up infrastructure. This included bus rapid transit systems, investment in rail network and upgrading roads.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said he was confident that all roadworks and airport construction would be finished before the Cup. “We are on track,” he said.

Source: www.businessday.co.za, 20100224

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