Public transport governance learning journey to Germany

By Fatima Beg

The Governance Support Programme (GSP) conducted a learning journey to Berlin and Frankfurt on public transport governance in May 2016. The fifteen high-ranking South African participants were from the national Department of Transport, the National Treasury, the transport departments of seven metropolitan municipalities, the South African Local Government Association and the South African Cities Network.

The delegation met, amongst others, with the city departments and companies responsible for delivering public transport in Berlin and Frankfurt, transport consultants, the cities’ association (Deutscher Städtetag) and an agency for citizen participation in public sector planning. The participants saw that the German system is just as complex as the South African one with regard to the number of role players and interests as well as fiscal flows. Nevertheless, integrated systems with high user numbers are possible.

During the week there were also working sessions were participants discussed the challenges of intergovernmental cooperation, capacity development and appropriate fiscal flows to support integrated and sustainable public transport in South Africa. This provided an opportunity to strengthen the ties between the different participants and to start mapping out possible ways to overcome these challenges. Members of the delegation expressed their commitment to continue this work going forward to improve public transport in the country.