From today more than 5 000 commuters will use the country’s first ‘green’ public transport interchange, which generates its own electricity and receives its water from renewable sources.
The newly built Wallacedene taxi rank is largely self-sufficient in all energy needs while saving rainwater in underground tanks. Previously, commuters and taxi drivers had to operate from an open piece of land next to the new taxi rank.
The city believes the facility will receive a four-star rating from Green South Africa, a rating system used by the Green Building Council of SA.
Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said the city spent R25 million on building the new facility.
‘We are proud to be at the forefront of combining intelligent architecture and technology in our effort to improve services. This taxi rank sets the benchmark for future public transport facilities and the upgrading of existing ones.’
Solar panels have been fitted on the taxi rank rooftop for electricity generation. It is equipped with 24 large batteries to store solar energy, which will be used to power lamp poles at night or on cloudy days. The LED-lights under the roof, electric gates and hydro-boils are all powered by solar energy.
‘Since the start of August the taxi rank (has) needed one hour’s worth of electricity from Eskom to power the heavy-duty building machinery,’ he said.
Architects have included underground water tanks with a capacity of 12 000 litres. Rain water will be stored so taxi drivers can wash their vehicles.
Civil engineer Johan Troskie said: ‘With the tank full, the water can be used to wash taxis for a week without any rain.’
Herron said the use of potable water was an ‘enormous’ waste.
‘About 70 percent of the water at the taxi rank will be recycled. The water saving will benefit the taxi operators and the city and save approximately 40 percent on monthly water bills.’
More than 50 taxi drivers will pull into the taxi rank for the first time today.
The Blue Route Taxi Association (BRTA) and other Kraaifontein taxi drivers have hailed the newrank as ‘the perfect gift’.
BRTA chairman Nkwenkwe Mayase said: ‘We are delighted with the new taxi rank.’
‘We have an open piece of land to pick up and drop off people. We always had problems dropping off our people in the rain and even drivers themselves felt that it was not dignified.’
Wallacedene community leader Mkholisi Mkumpa said residents had first requested a formal taxi rank in 1996. ‘We are grateful for this.’