Free MyCiti rides for job seekers

Brett Herron takes a selfie with Salama Michaels and Rashieda Dramat from Mitchell's Plain. PICTURE: CARL FOURIE

Unemployed people will be able to use the MyCiTi bus services for free, twice a week, using their myconnect card.

The City of Cape Town launched the initiative at the Lentegeur Sub-council Chambers on Tuesday October 31.

Unemployed residents qualify if they are already registered on the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme job seekers’ database. The concession applies to those job seekers who are registered at Sub-councils 1, 3, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 23 or 24.

These sub-councils fall within the MyCiTi footprint and are served by MyCiTi routes. Commuters will be able to change from one bus or route to another to reach a destination.

Travel can take place on any week day starting between 9am and 10am or between 2pm and 3pm. The journey can end outside of these times, but job seekers must ensure that they start their journey within these time periods. They can also board any MyCiTi bus to reach their destination to apply for a job opportunity.

Salama Michaels from Eastridge received her myconnect card on Tuesday and used it to get to a job interview in Cape Town on Thursday November 2.

“The card was really helpful, as it got me to my interview and back. The bus is efficient and safe and can be beneficial to other residents as well.

“There was just one concern that I mentioned to Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, and that was that they should make the times earlier than 9am as interviews can take place earlier.

“He said we have to submit the suggestions so that they can look at it. Other than that, ward councillors should inform more people about this programme,” she said.

Valerie de Louw from Lentegeur said travelling around the city was expensive and that the weekly rides would be beneficial. “I usually take the train or taxi to get around, which costs money. So I am thankful that I get to travel twice a week for free looking for job opportunities,” she said.

Mayor, Patricia de Lille said unemployment in South Africa was a huge challenge to which Cape Town was not immune. She added that many people gave up looking for work because travel costs were too high. “So that is why we are launching the initiative to offer free MyCiTi bus rides to job seekers to support them in their efforts to find employment,” she said.

The City has set aside R6.6 million to pay for and subsidise bus rides on the MyCiTi service for unemployed people in Cape Town. This will include the cost of 100 000 myconnect cards that will be handed out to registered job seekers until Monday November – or until all of the myconnect cards have been issued to registered job seekers.

“I want to use this opportunity to urge businesses and potential employers to please try to accommodate these job seekers as the buses they will travel on will be off-peak.

“This could mean perhaps scheduling interviews for late morning, midday or early afternoon to allow job seekers using MyCiTi to benefit from this programme of free rides,” she said.

Ms De Lille said the initiative was a pilot project that targeted job seekers in vulnerable sections of the community in an effort to combat poverty and unemployment.

She said the initiative was a pilot project which would be monitored until June 30 next year.

“We will use the outcome of this pilot to monitor the impact and uptake and to see whether and how we can extend the concession thereafter. Applicants must apply at the sub-council office where they are registered on the job seekers’ database by presenting their identity document and completing an application form,” she said.

People can register at the Lentegeur Administrative Office, at the corner of Melkbos and Merrydale roads in Lentegeur.

For more information or assistance, call the Transport Information Centre (TIC) on 0800 65 64 63. The TIC is available 24/7 and agents can assist callers in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.