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Doing good while doing business

Bigen Africa creates South Africa’s first “green” taxi rank

Bigen Africa creates South Africa’s first “green” taxi rank

Bigen Africa, a leading infrastructure development company with a strong presence in southern Africa and a growing African footprint,  has utilised innovative conservation principles to create the country’s first “green” taxi rank at Wallacedene in Cape Town.

As provider of civil engineering, project management, electrical and structural services on this R25 million project,  Bigen Africa has seen to it that the facility is a largely self-sufficient in terms of energy and water use. This not only offers 5 000 commuters and 50 taxi drivers the amenities they need to refresh and regroup between trips every day, but also delivers cost efficiencies for the City of Cape Town based on “green” principles.

Wallacedene Taxi Rank image 22

Four Star rating

“The taxi rank has been designed with conservation principles and therefore sustainability in mind,” says Johan Troskie, Civil Engineer at Bigen Africa, who led the construction project. “These include the use of alternative energy and water provision systems to ensure considerable savings for the local municipality as a result of potable water conservation and reduced conventional energy consumption.”

In terms of user convenience, the facility offers amenities such as flush toilets, recycling bins, loading bays for the drivers and benches for commuters. The area even has six informal trading bays and two kiosks for local entrepreneurs to utilise. All of this contrasts strongly with the preconstruction state of the site, which was simply an open piece of land with no formal infrastructure.

The new taxi rank operates off the electricity grid as Bigen Africa opted for a rooftop solar photovoltaic panel system for electricity generation. Everything from the light-emitting diode lights under the roof to the electronic gates and hydroboils in the kitchen is powered by this system. At night and on cloudy days, reserve solar energy stored in 24 large batteries can be used, ensuring that only minimal – if any – electricity will be required from Eskom. Savings in conventional energy costs will ensure that the capital cost of the solar panel system will be recovered within six to 10 years.

To meet the huge demand for water for washing taxis at Wallacedene, Bigen Africa has ensured that pumping and filtering costs associated with municipal water use, as well as wastage of potable water, can be avoided.

“The taxi rank has been designed to allow harvesting of rainwater, particularly along its substantial roof, and recycling of up to 70% of water used,” says Troskie “For this, an underground filtering and reclamation system with a capacity of 20 000 litres and a pump system has been constructed.”

Thanks to Bigen Africa’s innovative approach in the construction of the Wallacedene taxi rank, Green star South Africa has announced its intention to award the facility a four-star rating.

Wallacedene Taxi Rank image23

Benchmark for public transport facilities
“The City is extremely proud to be at the forefront of combining intelligent architectural design and technology in our effort to improve service delivery to our residents,” says Brett Herron, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member responsible for transport. “The Wallacedene taxi rank sets the benchmark for future public transport facilities in the country, showcasing the City’s commitment to conservation and innovation.
“The facility is safe and secure, and the elderly, women, children and people with special needs, in particular, will benefit from this development.”
Through the infrastructure development projects that Bigen Africa undertakes, it realises its vision of developing sustainable infrastructure that will improve the quality of life of all. These projects also provide opportunities for putting the company’s creed of “doing good while doing business” into practice, which involves channelling some of the employment and procurement opportunities to the local communities.
A provider of engineering, management consulting, development financing and advisory services, Bigen Africa has successfully delivered cost-effective, sustainable infrastructure projects in South Africa and several other African countries, including Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi, Angola, Lesotho, Nigeria and Ghana. Bigen Africa integrates the entire value chain in an infrastructure development process through in-house capabilities and strategic partnerships – from feasibility studies through project preparation, management and implementation to development finance and ongoing asset management.