Bus rapid transit projects involving the South African government and small operators (as SMMEs): is bus rapid transit a blue or red ocean strategy?

  • Published April 11, 2016
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    Volume 14 2016, Issue #1 (cont.), pp. 217-227
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Transport forms the heartbeat of the economy, not only in South Africa but also globally. Over time the South African government has invested a great deal of resources in transport projects such as taxi recapitalization rail technology as well as bus rapid transit (BRT). The BRT project has been a point of discussion in terms of the value which it can bring to key stakeholders, particularly to commuters and the country’s economy at large. BRT is basically an urban public bus transport strategy which seeks to alleviate congestion, mostly in the Metropolitan areas. In this paper the significance of the BRT strategy is highlighted as this may guide future public transport project investment. As a strategic move, the decision for government to roll out BRT is evaluated in terms of blue ocean strategy (BOS) principles and red ocean strategy (ROS) elements. BOS strategy suggests that an organization operates in its own created market space where competition is rendered irrelevant, whereas with ROS organization relies on having a competitive edge in order to outsmart its rivals. The preliminary findings suggest that there are some elements of both BOS principles and ROS that are relevant to BRT projects. BRT is seen as a useful public transport investment particularly for countries with developing economies elements such as South Africa. However, stakeholder buy-in and cooperation should be promoted to preserve the strategic and social gains brought about by BRT and other integrated public transport projects

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