N2 Express returns

Front, left to right – Dalene Campbell, Executive Director of the City’s Transport Directorate; City Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis; and Councillor Rob Quintas, the Mayoral Committee Mayor for Transport; at the back, left to right: Henry Williams from the Route Six Taxi Association in Mitchells Plain, Derick Meyer from GABS, and Andile Khanyi from Lisekhonikamva Rapid Transit Operator (Codeta) from Khayelitsha.

A Mitchell’s Plain taxi association head says the return of the MyCiTi N2 Express service will boost the economy of the local community.

More than 6 000 commuters from Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha will benefit from the N2 Express bus service being back on the road next month.

Henry “Hawk” Williams, chairman of the Route 6 Taxi Association, was one of the signatories to the new contract, as a shareholder in the the N2 Company, equally owned by Lisekhonikamva (Codeta) from Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain Rapid Transit (Route 6), and Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) on Thursday January 20.

The N2 Express Service, from Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha to the Civic Centre in Cape Town was first introduced on July 5 2014 but was suspended on May 31 2019, due to contractual issues.

Mr Williams said the taxi industry kept fares low, which was the only way to retain loyal customers, who needed to get to work.

“In Mitchell’s Plain we are the only affected association that transports people from Mitchell’s Plain to Cape Town. The other associations that are operational in Mitchell’s Plain, are all feeders, They bring people to the Town Centre. We take people to Cape Town,” he said.

“We bring the people of Mitchell’s Plain to the party and we have worked hard to resuscitate and revive this contract,” he said.

They will engage 61 association in the roll-out of the R7 billion MyCiti Phase 2A expected to service 200 000 passenger trips per day by 2027, benefiting 30 communities with affordable, safe, and reliable public transport between Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Claremont and Wynberg (“R997 million investment for M’Plain transport route”, Plainsman July 21, 2021).

Planning for Phase 2A began in 2012 as part of the development of the City’s Integrated Transport Plan.

On December 15, during the last council meeting last year, the municipality unanimously approved the transport directorate’s request to grant the N2 Company the right to use and manage the 34 City-owned buses to provide the N2 Express service.

Mayoral committee member for transport Rob Quintas said the fleet of 34 buses – a combination of 12-metre low-floor buses and 18-metre low-floor buses – will be serviced and prepared for operations, and bus drivers recruited and trained.

“In the meantime, the transport directorate is assessing all of the bus shelters along the four routes in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha for urgent maintenance and repairs,” he said.

“Sadly, many of the shelters have been vandalised or stripped by thieves during the time that the service was suspended.

“Given the extent of the vandalism, most of the shelters will still be in a state of disrepair by the time the N2 Express operates, but I can assure commuters that we are working around the clock to get this sorted,” Mr Quintas said.

“I will keep commuters informed of our progress and make it public once we know the exact date on which the N2 Express service will start operating,” he added.