The Cape Town Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system is a bold initiative to transform the public transport sector by dramatically improving the customer's experience thereof. This initiative will seek to integrate all of the current transport modal options into a coherent package. Among the modes to be integrated are: Metrorail services, road-based services on trunk routes, conventional bus services, minibus taxi integration, feeder bus services, improved pedestrian and bicycle access, metered taxi integration and park-and-ride facilities.
The principal way in which the City of Cape Town will transform the road-based public transport services is a concept known as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). BRT is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective urban mobility with segregated right-of-way infrastructure, rapid and frequent operations, and excellence in marketing and customer service.
BRT has virtually all the performance and comfort of a modern rail-based transit system but at a fraction of the cost – typically four to 20 times less than a tram or light rail transit system and
10 to 100 times less than a rail system.
BRT has been successfully implemented in Latin American cities, such as Curitiba, Bogotá and Sao Paulo, as well as Brisbane, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Rouen, Beijing, Delhi, Jakarta, Nagoya, and Taipei. BRT has become a global phenomenon synonymous with quality public transport.
The central defining feature of BRT is its focus on customer service. Dedicated, median busways provide customers with dramatically reduced travel times. Because the vehicles move quickly in peak hour, more people are encouraged to switch from private car use to public transport, which makes the whole system far more viable. The dedicated lanes also reduce operating costs so that fare levels are quite affordable.
Special attention is also given to safety and security through the presence of extensive security personnel and the use of CCTV cameras.