R997 million investment for M’Plain transport route

Close to a billion rand has been set aside to pave the way for the MyCiTi bus service to transport passengers from Mitchell’s Plain to the southern suburbs within the next seven years.

The MyCiTi bus service Phase 2A will take Mitchell’s Plain commuters to the southern suburbs.

The roll-out of the MyCiTi bus service Phase 2A, including the entire metro south east, from January next year, will link Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Claremont and Wynberg at a total cost of R8 billion.

City of Cape Town spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo told the Plainsman that the capital investment in Mitchell’s Plain to be used for road and depot construction alone is estimated at R997 million, that is 12.5% of the R8 billion budget.

The N2 Express bus service, between Mitchell’s Plain and the City, which has been on rocky ground since June 2018 and suspended from August 2019, will be incorporated into the overall Phase 2A corridor.

The N2 Express Company – namely Codeta, a minibus-taxi association based in Khayelitsha, Route 6 Taxi Association from Mitchell’s Plain and the Golden Arrow Bus Service – failed to reach an internal agreement on the way forward.

The City hopes that the bus service will provide commuters from 30 communities with affordable, safe and reliable transportation.

Last Wednesday July 14 during a virtual town hall meeting, mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase spoke about the transport challenges in Cape Town, pointing out that the infrastructure for the route had already been put in place in Jan Smuts Drive, Athlone and Stock Road, Philippi.

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

The concept design was approved by Council in 2015 and 2019 and the detailed design had progressed, with some plans already concluded for the East and West work packages.

Construction along Work Package W3 – Jan Smuts Road – has been concluded and the construction of W4 – Govan Mbeki Road and the Spine Road depot – is planned to start within the approved 2021/22 financial year.

Mr Tyhalibongo said they had not yet negotiated with any of the existing public transport service providers.

“The transport directorate is in the process of engaging the industry in respect of the Phase 2A services, however, it must be noted that the current taxi violence is negatively impacting the department from engaging the taxi industry.

“We will do everything in our power to keep the industry informed about the processes relating to Phase 2A. No MyCiTi Phase 2A will commence without the engagement, consultation and negotiation with all the affected industry stakeholders,” he said.

This major transport corridor is expected to serve more than 200 000 passengers daily.

Last month during a full council meeting, when the annual budget for the 2021/22 financial year was approved, Mayor Dan Plato said Capetonians stood to benefit from this public investment.

The construction of new roads, stations and stops over the seven-year period would create up to 7 206 job opportunities; about 800 people would be permanently employed to keep the services running, once fully operational; business along the main routes could provide a further 350 permanent jobs; and the new road infrastructure would also alleviate traffic congestion in the areas, where the MyCiTi service is rolled out.

“One cannot underestimate the significant contribution the roll-out of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus service will make to Cape Town’s economic recovery during and after the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Mr Tyhalibongo said Council had adopted an Industry Transition Business Plan which provides for the transformation and transition of the minibus taxi industry.

“Significant progress has been made with a pilot of the formation of transport operating companies (TOC) and will formally be piloted in the coming months,” he said.

The formation of the TOCs will be key in the running of the overall Phase 2A operating model.

“Lessons learnt with the Phase 1 implementation as well as the N2 Express have been incorporated into the Industry Transition Business Plan. It is envisaged that Phase 2A would be operated by more than one operator, unlike the N2 Express,” said Mr Tyhalibongo.