Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Rea Vaya is the BRT network in Johannesburg. Phase 1A is operational, linking the township of Soweto to the CBD. Phase 1B is under construction and expected to be operational during 2012. Rea Vaya is developed by City of Johannesburg.
  • The Rea Vaya network consists of Trunk Routes that operate exclusively on the BRT running way, Complementary routes that operate both on and off the BRT running way, and Feeder Routes that bring passengers to the BRT for transfer.
  • A new Bus Operating company (PioTrans) has been formed, whose shareholders are from the minibus taxi owners displaced by the Rea Vaya services. City of Johannesburg has entered a 12-year bus service operating contract with PioTrans, who are paid a per-kilometre fee for the provided services.
  • An interim fare collection solution based on paper tickets has been implemented. Tickets are sold at Rea Vaya Stations and through authorized vendors.
  • City of Johannesburg has entered four separate contracts for the ticket printing, ticket system management, secure ticket distribution and cash collection, and station management including sales of tickets at the Rea Vaya stations.
  • An Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system has been procured and is currently under deployment, expected to be operational by end-February 2012. The AFC is based on smart cards.
  • Originally it was intended to accept both MiFare (transit-issued) and EMV (bank-issued) for stored-value payments, but following national Ministry requirement that all electronic fare schemes must include EMV, Rea Vaya opted for an EMV-only deployment. Loading will take place at stations, vendors and banks.

Scope of the Case Study

This case study deals with the Fare Collection systems implemented for the Rea Vaya systems, the BRT system implemented by the City of Johannesburg.  The Case Study covers the current interim fare collection system and the Automatic Fare Collection system to be deployed during 2011-2.

The Case Study not cover the Fare Collection systems implemented at the other public and commuter bus operators in the Johannesburg area (Metrobus and Putco) nor of the minibus-taxi operators. It also does not cover the fare collection systems of the commuter rail network nor of Gautrain.


Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa. It has a population of 3.8 million people in an area of 1645 square kilometres. Johannesburg is a major economic hub for both South Africa itself and for the African continent.

The spatial and population distribution of Johannesburg is a legacy of the apartheid era. This still has profound effects on the distribution of activities, the travel patterns and the nature of the transport services. In addition to the legacy distribution of population by ethnic group, which is still quite pronounced, there are three distinct features of the city which influence travel patterns and transportation supply:

  • While Johannesburg’s Central Business District remains a high-rise, dense focal point of activity, much of the wealth and prime activity relocated in the post-apartheid era. The CBD is no longer the sole focal point for business, and has low levels of social activity or attractions outside of business hours.
  • The north and north-eastern suburbs have developed significantly, both as an alternative investment location to the CBD in areas such as Sandton, and with the extensive development of middle-class suburbs and gated communities. These areas are heavily auto-oriented.
  • The apartheid-era townships (in particular Soweto) were designed to locate the black population at a significant distance from the predominantly-white urban centre. Only those with passes were allowed to enter these areas, mostly for work, and to then return to the townships in the evening. On one hand, this meant that transportation links between the townships were provided entirely for the daily commute; on the other, it meant that there was virtually no pattern of non-work travel between the suburban areas and the city centre, nor transportation services to facilitate this. While much has changed in recent years and townships such as Soweto have experienced significant improvement in quality and opportunities, the embedded travel patterns persist. One of the key objectives of the Rea Vaya BRT has been to overcome the transportation links imbalance.

Public transport in Johannesburg consists of the following:

  • Commuter Rail services
  • Urban Bus services
  • Minibus taxi services
  • Rea Vaya BRT
  • Express Urban rail (Gautrain)

Total daily movements are approximately 3.5 million trips. About 47% of these trips are made by public transport, and 53% by private transport. This places considerable strain on the roads network and leads to congestion and delays. Of the 47% public transport mode share, the internal split is estimated as:

72% Minibus-taxi

14% Rail

 9% Bus

South Africa hosted the football World Cup in 2010. Johannesburg was the venue for two of the tournament stadia (Ellis Park, Soccer City) and a third stadium (Orlando) was used for the opening ceremony. The first trunk line of the Rea Vaya BRT was implemented to provide transportation linkages to/from the football venues. However, it was designed to provide a useful post-event legacy, and it forms the first phase of a broader transportation network for Johannesburg.

Passenger transport within and to/from the townships has traditionally been provided by the minibus-taxi sector. A major restructuring has been necessary (described below) in which impacted sectors of the minibus-taxi have formed the Operator of the Rea Vaya bus services. This was a long and difficult process, as it cuts across many other issues and interests of the minibus-taxi sector, who have reacted strongly from time to time.

Rea Vaya BRT

The BRT originated in the Strategic Public Transport Network planning (STPN) of 2003. The concept was to establish core trunk routes onto which the bus routes could be channeled and taxi services would provide feeder connections.

The feasibility study for BRT in Johannesburg was carried out during 2006. The City of Johannesburg Council approved Phase 1 of the BRT in November 2006, and the detailed Phase 1B in November 2008. Capital expenditure on Phase 1A has been R2.5 billion, capital expenditure on Phase 1B is expected to be R3.5 billion.

Phase 1 is foreseen to consist of the following capacity:

Phase 1A:

  • 25 kilometres BRT, 30 stations
  • 143 buses (41 articulated on Trunk route, 102 standard on Complementary routes)
  • 45,000 passengers/day
  • One new Bus Operating Company

Phase 1B (including phase 1A)

  • 63 kilometres BRT
  • 640 buses
  • Additional Bus Operating Company

Phase 1C (including Phases 1A, 1B)

  • 122 kilometres BRT
  • 805 buses

Phase 1A construction commenced in the CBD in October 2007 and works continued through 2008-9. In parallel, negotiations were underway with the minibus-taxi sector to establish the basis on which the BRT would operate, and the structure for the taxi stakeholders to participate. 143 Scania buses were ordered and delivered during 2009.

The first BRT Trunk Route of Phase 1A commenced operation on 30th August 2009, with the first Complimentary and Feeder Routes being introduced in Mach 2010 and additional routes introduced in May 2011 ahead of the World Cup in June/July 2010.

The BRT system was given the name ‘Rea Vaya’, which translates as “we are moving”.

Phase 1B construction commenced in 2010 and is expected to be operational during 2012. The initial implementation is expected to involve an additional 150 buses. Phase 1B connects significant industrial, health and educational institutions to both Soweto (Phase 1A terminus) and the CBD, and links with the Phase 1A BRT at two locations to facilitate transfer between the two Trunk lines.  

The implementation of Phase 1B will have more significant implication for transfers, and hence also for the fare collection system. In addition to the transfers with the Phase 1A Trunk Line, there will also be transfer opportunities with PUTCO routes, with Guatrain, and with additional taxi routes.

Future phases of Rea Vaya will extend the network both north/north-east to Sandton, link Alexandra and Sandton, and also to the south of the city, with construction foreseen during 2013-2018. The long-term objective is that 85% of Johannesburg’s population will be within 500 metres of a Rea Vaya Trunk or Feeder service.

Rea Vaya Transport services

The Rea Vaya network consists of three service types:

  • Trunk lines – only use the BRT running way
  • Complementary Routes – collect passengers and then use the running way
  • Feeder Routes – collect passengers and transfer

Currently the following services are in place:

Trunk Line 1 (T1): Thokoza Park to Ellis Park East – 20 stops each way

T1 is the primary BRT route and provides the backbone of the Rea Vaya system.

Complementary Line 1 (C1):  Dobsonville to Ellis Park East - 28 stops

Complementary Line 3 (C3): CBD Circular Service – 13 stops

The Complementary lines connect with T1 in different ways:

C1 operates a cross-city service. It joins T1 and operates along the BRT alignment from Orlando Stadium to Carlton, and again connects with T1 at the eastern terminal at Ellis Park East.

C3 is a CBD distributor service whose two terminals are at T1 stations – Chancellor House and Johannesburg Art Gallery

Feeder Route 1 (F1): Thokoza Park to Naledi -  14 stops

Feeder Route 2 (F2): Protea Glen via Thokoza Park Station – 20 stops

Feeder Route 3 (F3): Lakeview to Jabavu – 7 stops

Feeder Route 4 (F4): Boomtown to Mofolo – 8 stops

Feeder Route 5 (F5): Eldorado Park to Lakeview – 9 stops

Currently all 5 feeder routes are in the Soweto end of the routes, connecting with T1 at Thokoza Park (F1, F2), Lakeview (F3, F5) and Boomtown (F4).

Service Hours and Frequencies

Current service parameters are:


First Bus

Last Bus

Peak interval


Off-peak interval


Sunday intervals


















































Performance metrics

Rea Vaya is on a growth curve, and will continue to grow in the coming years as additional Trunk lines are opened, along with associated Complementary and Feeder routes. In the initial years, as there is gradual adaptation of travel patterns and take-up of the Rea Vaya services, ridership and service levels will be below system capacity. The performance metrics provided here are simply for reference, and are likely to be quickly surpassed.

Data for September 2010 includes:

  • 34,000 passengers/day (11,800 in first month)
  • 1,100 bus trips/day
  • 18,500 kilometres operated/day
  • 143 buses (41 articulated, 102 complementary)
  • PVR of 38 articulated and 80 complementary buses
  • 30 Rea Vaya stations in service
  • 1,000 permanent employees across the Rea Vaya services

During the World Cup, Rea Vaya transported 307,000 passengers, and cleared stadium stations well ahead of the FIFA benchmark times.

Institutional Framework

The City of Johannesburg is the principal authority for public transport in Johannesburg. The Mayor’s office provides the administration for the city. Direction and oversight of passenger transportation, including of the Rea Vaya system, is provided by the Mayoral Committee for Transport.

The Transportation Department oversees all public transport infrastructure and facilities, as well as general traffic management ad enforcement.

The City of Johannesburg owns Metrobus, the main urban bus operator.  Putco is a privately owned enterprise.

The City of Johannesburg is the ultimate owner of the Rea Vaya system, being the owner of the infrastructure and the Client for the transport and support services, which are provided under contract.

National Government provides infrastructure and systems funding, in particular for the additional system requirements for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. About R2.5 billion has been provided during 2006-2010 through the PTIS fund.

The City funds operations from the ratepayers. However, this funding source has reduced due to the economic downturn. In response, the City is exploring non-residential parking levies, portions of fuel levies, and PPP opportunities.

Rea Vaya Business Unit

The City of Johannesburg has established a Rea Vaya Business Unit. The Business Unit is responsible for the organisation and delivery of the Rea Vaya system and services. It has both specialist and administrative capacity.

The Business Unit carries out the service design, quality control, and organization of the control room. It specifies the service to be operated by the Bus Operating Company. It also does development and implementation of the ITS and Fare Collection systems.

The Business Unit outsources all of the operational aspects through a series of Contracts, which it then manages. These contracts include the bus operation contract, the station management contract, and a number of contracts relating to the fare collection (described in more detail below). The Business Unit monitors and enforces quality of service delivery as specified in these contracts, and enforces penalties.

Operator Structure

Public Bus Operators

Municipal public bus operations in Johannesburg have been provided by Metrobus, the municipal-owned operator. Metrobus operates about 530 buses on 80 scheduled bus routes and 130 school routes. Their ridership is about 90,000 per day. Metrobus traditionally served the white areas of Johannesburg, and did not operate into the townships such as Soweto. The taxi associations made it exceedingly clear that they would not accept expansion by Metrobus into these areas.

PUTCO provides commuter bus services in Guateng, Limpopo and other adjacent areas. It serves the main townships in the Johannesburg area, and was traditionally the provider of bus services for the black communities. PUTCO currently has about 1,800 buses and carries 230,000 passengers daily.

Minibus Taxi Operators

Minibus taxis are the most widely-used form of public transportation. In part, this reflects the legacy of segregated bus services which primarily served only the commuter requirements, and did not provide much opportunity for people to travel for other purposes, or to travel locally. Vehicles are normally approximately 15-seaters, many of which are in relatively poor condition (albeit significantly better than in many other African countries) and are often driven quite recklessly by drivers competing for passengers.

The minibus-taxi sector is formed as Taxi Associations. The Taxi Associations affiliate to larger organisations. Top Six and GJRTC, who are participant in Phase 1A BOC, have 106 affiliated Taxi Associations.

Urban Rail Operator

Gautrain is an urban rail system which is currently under development. The total investment will be 25 billion Rand (c. USD 3.6 billion). Gautrain currently provides a high-speed, limited-stop link between Johannesburg’s main international airport and Sandton. A second line linking Johannesburg and Pretoria was opened in August 2011. This connects with the Airport line at Sandton and another station.

Gautrain is developing a network of high-quality feeder bus services, operated by Bombela (a subsidiary of RATP). The feeder buses will have the following parameters:

  • 150 buses (when all routes are implemented)
  • 2,200 bus trips per day
  • 26,000 bus-km per day
  • 12-30 minutes intervals

Currently, there is no point of interface with Rea Vaya. This will change in Phase 1B when the new trunk Route will intersect with the Gautrain near the city centre. In subsequent phases, Rea Vaya will extend to Sandton, at which point there will be more significantly intersection and overlap between the Rea Vaya and Gautrain networks. This will drive the requirement for extended transfer and common ticketing.

Formation of the Rea Vaya Phase 1A Bus Operator (Piotrans)

It was determined that the Bus Operator for Phase 1A of Rea Vaya should be formed from the existing minibus-taxi operators. This involved multiple challenges including:

  • Identifying which operators should come within the negotiation scope
  • Establishing the basis for negotiated agreement
  • Assisting the minibus-taxi operators to develop the capacity both for the negotiations and to deliver the services
  • Managing the relationships with the rest of the minibus-taxi sector, and avoiding confrontation which could result in violence and even fatalities

The core negotiations were conducted in 2009-10, with agreements reached by August 2010. The main minibus-taxi associations for Phase 1A were GJRTC and Top Six Taxi Association. The negotiation was led by a team of independent facilitators, paid by the city, but agreed to by both parties. The agreements covered the following issues:

  • Compensation for loss of income in respect of operators affected by the Rea Vaya Phase 1A roll-out of services.
  • Verification process in respect of affected operators in terms of a Participation Framework Agreement
  • Bus Operating Contract
  • Fee per kilometer and escalation formula, including profit margin for affected operators
  • Process of affected operators becoming shareholders in the Bus Operating Company (BOC)
  • Process of shareholders taking over the BOC, and of operating the bus services
  • Employment of drivers and other employees of affected Operators

It was agreed that up to 585 minibus taxis (out of 1500 affected vehicles) would be removed from routes competing with the Phase 1A services. The owners would be eligible for indirect shareholding in the BOC via one of the nine Taxi Operator Investment Companies (TAICs) in return for removal.

The Rea Vaya service was launched before the formal establishment and handover of the BOC. This required the formation of an interim legal entity which could receive the buses, engage and train the driving and other staff, operate the services, and meet the other services and reporting obligations. This Special Purpose Vehicle (Clidet) was established and ownership was subsequently transferred to the TAICs as per agreement.

In the absence of the BOC, the City of Johannesburg purchased the 143 buses required for Phase 1A of Rea Vaya, and provided the necessary guarantees to the supplier (actually, to the export credit agency) on behalf of the BOC.

The handover of the Bus Operating Company formally took place on 1st February 2011, and the BOC took the new name ‘Piotrans’. Services operated under this arrangement. However, a lengthy strike in August/September 2011 over drivers’ pay indicates that the transition from minibus-taxi to BRT operator has not been entirely smooth, and there may yet be more issues to be resolved. 

Phase 1B

A broadly similar process will take place for the Phase 1B. However, it will be more complex as Metrobus and Putco are also involved, as well as 10 taxi associations.

Basis of Service/Route Award

City of Johannesburg took the decision to grant the bus service operation for Phase 1A to a new company which would be formed from and owned by the existing minibus-taxi operators and owners who were affected by the Phase 1A. There was no open procurement process, or individual route award.

A similar process is followed for the subsequent phases.

Permits or Contracts

City of Johannesburg has entered a 12-year contract with the Bus Operating Company (now PioTrans) for the operation of the Rea Vaya bus services.

The scope of responsibility for the Bus Operating Company under the Bus Operating Contract is:

  • Own the buses
  • Employ and provide drivers and other staff
  • Bus maintenance
  • Bus washing
  • Operate the services to timetable

The contact imposes penalties for quality and service deviations.

Separate contracts have been put in place for the customer-facing services (stations, information, ticketing) and for various support services (station staffing, maintenance, back-office systems). These are described in more detail below.  

The feeder buses for Gautrain are procured privately under the Gautrain concession. They are operated independently of both City of Johannesburg and Rea Vaya. Gautrain must get approval for the individual routes from City of Johannesburg, who assess them to ensure that they do not overlay the complementary routes for Rea Vaya.

Allocation of Revenue and Cost Risks

All revenue risk is carried by the City of Johannesburg. The City also guarantees a minimum revenue to the BOC in the form of guaranteed minimum service-kilometres that it will order and pay for.

All bus service cost risks are carried by the Bus Operating Company, subject to the input cost-based mechanisms for tariff review.

All support service cost risks are carried by the relevant contractors.

Financial Flows within the System

Revenues are returned to City of Johannesburg through the ticketing and sales processes.

The Bus Operating Company does not handle any of the revenue. Tickets are not sold on the Rea Vaya buses.

The Bus Operating Company, the Station Management Company (MTC) and the three companies associated with fare collection, tickets and cash collection (TMT, ACE, G4S) are paid through their contracts. These payments are not linked with the revenue or fare collection system.

The basic financial agreement with the Bus Operating Company is that the City pays a fee to the BOC per kilometre required and operated on the Rea Vaya Trunk and Complementary services. An escalation formula provides for monthly adjustments to the fee, in response to changes to costs.

The negotiated fee structure needed to ensure that the individual shareholders would receive sufficient income for each month of the contract. These shareholders had surrendered minibus-taxis that provided daily income, and many were dependent on this cashflow. The fee rate needed to take account of the fact that Rea Vaya service volumes and ridership would take some time to build up, potentially leaving the BOC and its individual shareholders quite exposed to leaner income in the initial years.

A further factor that needed to be resolved was the potential tax implications arising from the individual shareholders being paid both dividends and monthly income. A solution was reached with the South African Revenue Service.

The purchase of the vehicles was structured such that the funds for the purchase are lent to the BOC. A Debt Service Agreement has been put in place for the payments by BOC in relation to the buses. Linked agreements establish the obligations of the City and the Export Credit Agency to the BOC.

The Debt Service payments are not directly linked to the Fare Collection system, but they are linked to the receipts from the Rea Vaya customer revenues. Revenues from the fare collection system are channeled through a set of accounts that ensure the debt service payments are assured, and also hedged for currency fluctuations.

The BOC does not have to pay for the use of the BRT infrastructure, nor does it have to make any financial contribution to the investment costs.

Tariff Setting Mechanism

The core concept for Rea Vaya is that it will be self-financing and not require subsidy, although it may require some financial support in the first years as ridership and revenues are developed.

The City of Johannesburg Council determines and approves the tariffs. This is done on an annual basis, following public consultation. The tariffs are calculated to take account of full costs, including all operating costs, vehicle amortization, proper maintenance, spare parts, and reasonable profit margin.

The tariffs on the Rea Vaya BRT services are expected to be equal to or less than the fares charged on existing services (primarily minibus-taxis). This is expected to be possible due to lower per-passenger place cost, better operating speeds, higher productivity, and the City carrying the infrastructure investment costs. It also reflects the transfer options for the Rea Vaya network, whereas currently many customers need to use more than one vehicle and to pay separately for each boarding.

The 2011 tariff increase followed a public consultation process, which was launched in March 2011. Normally the tariff increases would be approved in May, but for 2011 the approval was done in June due to the local government election process.

Customers with prepurchased tickets at the old price have a short time period in which they can get tickets at the new prices by exchanging their old tickets and paying the fare difference. In 2011, the new tickets were made available on 30th June. The cut-off date for exchanges was set at 4th July, with no exchanges permitted after that date.

Tariff Structure and Fare Product Range

The tariff structure, pricing and fare products are developing as the Rea Vaya network expands. This may lead to new fare products emerging in the coming years.

The tariff structure on Rea Vaya is based on a flat fare per boarding, determined by service type, with additional charge for transfers.

Tariff Structure and Normal Fares

The tariff structure on Rea Vaya is based on a combination of the service type and whether transfers are required. A fixed fare is set for each individual route, regardless of the distance travelled. The route fare is set according to the service type.

The following tariff options currently apply (subsequent to tariff increase on 1st June 2011): 

Trip Type

Tariff (Rand)

Trunk service only


Feeder service only


CBD Distributor service only


Trunk service, transfers to/from feeder and to/from CBD distibutor


CBD Distributor service, one transfer to Trunk line


The pricing may evolve over time – in particular for the various transfer options – as additional trunk line and complimentary services come online.

Variants on the Normal Fare

Currently there are no variants on the standard fares. There are no child fares, peak / off-peak fares or other variants.

Fare product range

Currently, only the single fares are available on the Rea Vaya services. There are no multi-journey or time-based fare products.

Concessionary passes and fares

Currently, there are not concessionary passes or fares available on the Rea Vaya services. There is not free or discounted travel for elders, people with reduced mobility, etc.

Extent of Integration and Common Ticketing

Currently (i.e. in Phase 1A) the common ticketing is limited to the single Rea Vaya Trunk route, the two Complementary routes, and the 5 Feeder routes. Integration consists of transfers among these routes, designed almost entirely for journeys to/from the CBD.

Transfers between Gautrain and its associated bus services are separate, and there is no connection between the Rea Vaya and Gautrain systems.

In Phase 1B, the new Trunk Line will intersect with the Phase 1A Trunk Line, Gautrain, and the new Complementary and Feeder Routes. This will require an extension of the transfer arrangements. These discussions are ongoing at time of writing, agreements have not yet been finalized.

A Guateng Public Transport Integration Committee has been established.

One of the deployment and technical issues is whether it will be possible to get the EMV cards accepted on the Gautrain buses and trains. This is not expected to be achieved in the initial rollout of the AFC, but may be achieved downstream.

Management and Oversight of Fare Collection, and allocation of Responsibilities

The City of Johannesburg has established a Rea Vaya Business Unit. The Business Unit manages the Fare Collection through a set of four Contracts, each of which covers different functions. The four Contracts and their scope are:

Ticket Printing (awarded to ACE)

  • Printing of tickets for use on Rea Vaya 

Ticket System Management (awarded to TMT)

  • Supply and management of AFC and paper ticket systems
  • Ensure ticket availability at stations and vendors
  • Total logistics for ticket planning, sales, reconciliations on stock and validations

Cash collection (awarded to G4S)

  • Deliver tickets to stations
  • Collect cash from stations
  • Deliver ticket to vendors
  • Collect cash from vendors
  • Count cash under audit conditions
  • Bag and bank cash, and report per bag

Station Management (awarded to MTC)

  • Manage stations and activities
  • Station security
  • Station cleaning
  • Ticket sales and ticket stock control
  • Validation of tickets
  • Passenger liaison and loading
  • Information to passengers

In terms of sequencing:

  • TMT supplies the fare collection systems
  • TMT plans and monitors ticket requirements, and mobilises print orders
  • ACE prints the tickets
  • G4S collects and distributes the tickets to stations and vendors
  • MTC staff sell the tickets at the stations
  • Authorised vendors sell tickets at other locations
  • MTC staff carry out ticket inspection and customer management at stations
  • G4S collect the cash from the stations and from the vendors
  • G4S do the cash counting, lodging of cash to bank and associated reporting

Buses are owned by the Operators. All other Operating Assets, including the Fare Collection system and equipment, are owned by City of Johannesburg. The assets required for operation by BOC and MTC are made available on loan, free of charge.

Branding and marketing is the responsibility of Rea Vaya Business Unit.

Revenue Sharing or Revenue Distribution

Currently there are no revenue sharing agreements or revenue distribution processes linked to the fare collection on Rea Vaya.

This situation is likely to change as the extent of integrated tickets and transfers with the Gautrain network increases.

Fare Collection on Rea Vaya

No tickets are sold on buses, neither on the Trunk Routes nor on the Feeders and Complimentary routes. All tickets must be either prepurchased from designated ticket vendors or bought at the Rea Vaya stations.

Stations are managed by MTC (Metro Trading Company). At each station, there is a station ambassador, ticket seller or cashier, security, cleaners and marshals. Security and cleaning are outsourced by MTC, all other staff are direct employees of MTC.

The role of the Cashier is:

  • Sell tickets
  • Reconcile cash
  • Place cash in drop safe, with deposit slips
  • Complete shift forms

Fare Collection Technologies used at Rea Vaya

Currently, Rea Vaya uses a paper ticket system. This is an interim system as the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system was not ready at time of Rea Vaya launch.

The AFC tender was awarded to TMT, and it is expected to be operational during 2011. TMT took over the management of the interim system in September 2010 (after the World Cup).

Current Paper Ticket System

Currently the Rea Vaya system uses paper tickets purchased prior to boarding.

Tickets can be purchased either from approved vendors, or at the kiosks at the entry to the Rea Vaya bus stations.

Tickets are colour-coded by value as follows:

Blue: Feeder routes through to CBD on Trunk routes (R10.50)

Red: Trunk routes only (R7.30)

Yellow: Feeder routes only (R4.00) 

Tickets may be purchased well in advance of travel. They must be stamped at the beginning of the journey, and they then expire two hours after the stamped time.

The tickets have moderate security features, such as colour-coding by fare value, distinctive printing, and embossed foil ID, which support the visual inspection at stations and on revenue protection checks.

Automatic Fare Collection system

 The AFC was originally designed to operate with both:

  • EMV (bank cards)
  • MiFare (transport smart cards)

In the design phase, it was anticipated that South African Department of Transport would make EMV acceptance mandatory for all electronic fare collection systems of public transport operators. During 2011, the SA DoT did indeed make use of EMV mandatory for EFC in public transport systems.

Consequently, Rea Vaya reconsidered its approach, and decided to implement an EMV-only solution. MiFare cards will not be issued.

The AFC is designed to handle many fare structure configurations and concessions.

The AFC is based on cards with stored value.

Value can be loaded to cards at stations, at vendors, at vending machines, and at banks.

Electronic gates and card readers will be installed at all stations. Card readers will be installed on all complementary buses, with full access control (turnstiles).

Fare payment is based on a ‘two-tap’ approach – i.e. tap both at entry and exit. This allows the tariff to be calculated and deducted. There are penalties for evading access control, for not tapping in or out.

The AFC system will be fully integrated with the Automatic Public Transport Management System (APTMS).

Data links with the stations have already been put in place. A fibre optic network was established during the BRT running way and station construction, providing the data links to the Control Centre and other points.

AFC Assets and Maintenance

City of Johannesburg will provide the in-vehicle and at-station fare collection equipment to the BOC and to MTC on a loan basis, free of charge.

City of Johannesburg will maintain this equipment (under Contract). BOC and MTC will have responsibility to promptly advise the City if any equipment is faulty so that it can be repaired or replaced.

Off-vehicle Ticketing Sales and Distribution

Off-vehicle ticket sales is done through two channels:

  • Station kiosks
  • Authorised vendors

All Rea Vaya Trunk Line Stations have kiosks facilitating ticket sales. These are managed through the contract with MTC.

Authorised vendors are strategically to give the necessary level of coverage. The current distribution of vendors is as follows:


Number of Authorised Vendors in vicinity of stations



















Revenue Protection

The front line of Revenue Protection is ticket inspection at the Rea Vaya stations. This is done by MTC station staff. Bus drivers have no interaction with the customers for ticket sales or inspection.

Revenue Protection inspection is carried out by the Rea Vaya Business Unit.

There are City Bye-laws in relation to fare evasion. MTC identify that is not clear how the powers under these Bye-laws will be delegated either to MTC (at corporate level) or to their staff who are engaged in ticket inspection and revenue protection activities.

MTC also identify that it is not yet clear whether the Bye-laws need to be modified or extended in relation to the fare collection and ticket validation processes at the Rea Vaya stations, or for the AFC.

Capital costs of Fare Collection System

The AFC is still in the procurement and deployment phase. The system is expected to the operational by end-February 2012.

Operating Costs of the Fare Collection System

The AFC is still in the procurement and deployment phase.

The current complement of Cashiers at the Rea Vaya stations is 96 (taking shift, rotas, holidays into account). These staff are engaged almost entirely for the Fare Collection activities, and hence are a fully attributable operational cost of fare collection.

The complement of Station Ambassadors is 91, while the complement of Marshals is 180. While these staff are involved in ticket inspection duties, they are also required for other duties including greeting and guiding customers, providing information, and managing the passenger flow. It is debatable what portion, if any, of these staff costs should be considered an operational cost of the Fare Collection system. 

Other than the cost of equipment (which is capital cost), the costs associated with the three contracts held by TMT, ACE and G4S are entirely attributable as operating costs of the Rea Vaya Fare Collection system.

Benefits realized from the System

The AFC is still in the procurement and deployment phase.

Experience and Critical Success factors in Implementation

The AFC is still in the procurement and deployment phase.

City of Johannesburg recognized that they did not have sufficient in-house expertise and capacity for the development and implementation of the specialist systems. They contracted Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) as Project Managers for two key technical systems:

  • Automatic Public Transport Management Systems (APTMSD) including AVL, CCTV, VMS, RTPI, communications, computerized scheduling
  • Automatic Fare Collection system, integrated with the APTMS

During the implementation, JRA has brought in IT specialists to assist them, and who were tasked to manage the Consultants and the Suppliers.

The APTMS and AFC consist of many separate components, which had been mostly procured separately. On review, there was a need to change some of the specifications, either in functional terms or to better assure integration. In some cases, the procurement was already launched and contracts signed. Nonetheless, JRA and their IT specialists met with the suppliers and discussed the changes they required. In general, they succeeded to get the changes they needed, or to get the suppliers to work together where this was needed.

The lesson learned is that it is worth reviewing things even after procurement, and it is worth going back to the suppliers and discussing revised needs with them.

A second fibre optic loop is being installed, in addition to the one installed during the running way and station construction phase. Both the APTMS and the AFC systems are highly dependent on the communications to the stations. Until the second loop is in place, Rea Vaya is quite vulnerable.

Care needs to be taken on the electrical supply. The stations are on 3-phase power. It was observed that if one phase goes down, the systems switch to the reserve battery and can drain it completely. It is then possible for station to lose power completely, which would knock-out the AFC at the station.

Serious problems can occur where multiple suppliers/contractors are installing different ITS and communications systems on the vehicle. There needs to be a master plan for wiring and power supply, and respected protocols for installation. It is important to work closely with the bus suppliers on this.

It is important to have formal change control procedures during the installation and commissioning phases.

There is a steep learning curve for both the APTMS and the AFC, with both technical and organisational challenges.  This needs to be recognised by implementers. 

Attention needs to be paid to corporate memory. A lot of the design and implementation knowledge resides either in seconded staff or consultants/suppliers. If this knowledge is not adequately migrated, it will lead to problems in future years.

Experience in Operations

The AFC is not yet in operation.

The paper ticket system is recognized as high risk, and is not ideal. Revenue leakage is high, perhaps of the order of 20%. However, they have little choice but to continue with this system until the AFC is operational, and to mitigate the level of revenue leakage as best they can.

Current ridership and revenues are below projections. Subsidy continues to be required, and at a higher level than foreseen.

Potential Developments in the near future

Four major developments will occur in the near future:

1)   The Automatic Fare Collection system will be launched during 2012

2)   Phase 1B of Rea Vaya will commence operation during 2012, including one additional Trunk Route and additional complementary routes

3)   Phase 1B will involve the establishment of a second Bus Operating Company, which may also have participation of Putco and Metrobus

4)   The service area of Rea Vaya will begin to overlap with the service area of Gautrain, stimulating the requirement for interoperability of tickets and fare products

Technical Documentation

None sourced.

Background/Reference documentation

Reference documentation can be found at the Rea Vaya website at: