About 700 Mitchell’s Plain residents travelled to Cape Town central business district (CBD) for the traditional Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel street parade on Tuesday January 2.
The annual event sees as many as 13 000 minstrels taking to the streets, dressed in bright colours, armed with colourful umbrellas, dancing and playing music.
This tradition dates back to the mid-19th century when slaves were allowed to celebrate the new year on January 2.
A City of Cape Town survey on the MyCiTi service showed that 698 passengers travelled on the D04 route from Kapteinsklip to the Civic Centre between 5.30am and 9am.
And passengers complained about long queues and packed buses, getting home only after 10pm.
Pensioner Nadia Levy, from New Lentegeur, said it was “chaos”. “Passengers were panic-stricken. They did not know how they were going to get home,” she said.
After about an hour-long wait, Ms Levy got a lift home with her son-in-law.
Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, apologised to the passengers for any inconvenience experienced during this period and thanked them for their patience.
Station activities are monitored by the control centre.
“We try to plan proactively, especially with respect to the festive season timetables, using passenger data from previous years to predict the required demand for services,” he said. “Passenger movements on certain event days may result in greater and unforeseen demand at times,” he said.
Mr Herron said when there was an unexpectedly higher demand, the control centre would add as many additional services as possible but there may be delays before these came online.
Later in the day, a total of 701 passengers travelled on the D04 route from the civic centre to Kapteinsklip, between 3pm and 7pm.
Station management contacted the control centre informing them that there was an increase in passenger demand.
The control centre then contacted the Vehicle Operating Centre (VOC) to source an additional driver and dispatch an additional bus to accommodate these passengers. Both station management and the VOC confirmed that the bus was dispatched and all passengers were collected.
Mr Herron said generally, a base fare was charged when a passenger tapped in and out again at the same station. This fare was implemented to curb fare evasion.