Mon 18 Feb 2013
A question on Twitter over the weekend about the likely commencement of the MyCiti Bus service on the Atlantic Seaboard generated a most surprising response from the City of Cape Town’s Councillor for Transport, Roads and Stormwater Brett Herron. It seems that it is unsure when the MyCiTi Bus service will be rolled out on the Atlantic Seaboard, having been announced to commence last November, and now in February!
Councillor Herron (surprisingly) referred me to a link to ‘Future Cape Town‘, a blog written by a duo of childish unprofessional Tweeters, in which Rouen Smit has written about the ‘event kidnappers’, who are ‘hijacking the expectations of entire cities and countries to their eleventh-hour demands‘. The bottom line appears to be that in Cape Town ‘transport monopolies’ are the ‘event kidnappers’, being the taxi industry and Golden Arrow bus company, the latter objecting to the City of Cape Town’s application for operating licences for all nine feeder routes into the city.
Herron on Twitter and Smit in the blogpost call for commuters to raise their voice about the delays, so that they can mobilise and speed up the introduction of the MyCiTi Bus service in the areas where the service is ready to roll, as in Camps Bay for example. Smit argues that not having the service is too small a cost to mobilise the community into protest action, as appears to help other causes.
The end result is that the alleged monopolistic transport providers are denying commuters the benefit of the new service, millions of Rands of ratepayers’ monies having been paid to set up the service, and designed to save them time and money, and provide a safe route to work, shopping and entertainment. Herron Tweeted that the City of Cape Town needs help to get the service introduced, and to get the operating licences approved, requesting commuters to ‘demand the service. Write the operating board. Make noise about the objections’.
It would be a shame if such an efficient modern bus service, which would benefit not only residents but many tourists who do not want to rent a car, and who expect a transportation system which they deem to be missing in our otherwise world class city! Atlantic Seaboard Councillor Bev Schafer Tweeted that the MyCiTi Bus service can now be expected to be introduced in April or May, just when the tourist season has come to a grinding halt!
POSTSCRIPT 18/2: Councillor Herron sent the following additional up-to-date information via e-mail: this afternoon, sounding very optimistic about the hold-up coming to an end soon:
“Thank you for engaging with me on Twitter, over the weekend, about the roll out of the MyCiTi service on the Atlantic Seaboard. I referred you to a piece published on Future Cape Town’s website simply to provide you with some quick context for the delays and to underscore a concern that I have that in the debate about operating licences the most important voice, that of the commuters, is missing.
In order to commence the permanent feeder routes that make up the bulk of Phase 1A we require operating licences. The licensing board is an independent body established by the Provincial government. The City’s vehicle operating companies, formed as part of the industry transition process (and made up of directly affected taxi associations), commenced the licensing application process in good time – in August last year. Three taxi associations (who claim to be partially affected by the proposed new MyCiTi service) and Golden Arrow Bus Service submitted objections to the licences applied for. The tribunal scheduled hearings in November and January, but these were postponed by the tribunal at the request of the objectors. The hearings eventually took place in early February 2013 and the parties had until Friday 15 February 2013 to submit their respective written arguments. At the commencement of the proceedings two of the three taxi associations withdrew their objections. I think it is safe to say that the process has now closed and the tribunal must make its decision. As I indicated, the tribunal is independent and exercises an administrative justice type role. I trust that they will do so expeditiously but I have no way of knowing when they will make their decision. Assuming licences are in fact approved we will then commence the roll out of the new services in a phased manner as soon as possible“.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage