A while back, I was commissioned to illustrate a comic to help illustrate the new Bus Rapid Transit System being installed in Johannesburg South Africa. The BRT is called Rea Vaya, and based on a system installed in South America. The buses have their own special lane which other traffic cannot use, so become more like a metro system.
I’m interested to see if the project will be successful or not. Johannesburg has been in desperate need of some form of public transport that is reliable and safe, so I’m crossing fingers that this will work, especially in light of the 2010 Soccer World Cup that is looming next year.
Rea Vaya has received good and bad press, residents complain that the roadworks are intruding on their lives, making their commutes longer, and their neighborhoods more dangerous, as traffic is rerouted through suburban areas. The project has also been hampered by Taxi strikes, and is quite controversial in that it hopes to include the taxi drivers into the project, providing jobs, and hopefully minimizing the Taxi problems that Johannesburg has been plagued with.
The cartoon was fun to draw, and was a first for me in terms of it being a mini comic strip. It was also an interesting experiment in that I had to carefully merge my illustration style with the brief – which was more along the lines of a stereotypical educational poster. I hope that I made it a little more interesting through the use of pattern and line work – but i have yet to hear if the cartoon will actually be used although it seems to have been approved.
The whole project is hugely political, and every channel needs to be appeased, so here’s hoping that my illustration will grace the bus map flyers! :)
you can find out more about the project here: