New MyCiTi routes delayed

Earlier this month, I mentioned the possibility of using our overly-awesome MyCiTi bus service to get to and from work.  Since I wrote my earlier post, Cape Town recovered from the New Year’s hangover and turned the R27 into a massive car park, so in order to keep my sanity intact and transport expenses under control, using the bus service is fast becoming a necessity rather than a possibility.  The only requirement for me to switch over is the commencement on operations on the Woodstock/Salt River feeder route.

Unfortunately, according to this press release from the City of Cape Town, I’ll be waiting a while…

The implementation of new routes for the MyCiTi Bus Service, such as Walmer Estate and Salt River, is subject to the awarding of operating licences by the Western Cape Provincial Regulating Entity (PRE). These routes – along with the new smaller buses and newly constructed bus stops and stations, such as the Gardens Station – cannot become operational without these operating licences.

The City of Cape Town respects due process, and from the beginning of the process the application, supported by the City have followed the legal and procedural requirements set down by the PRE at all times. The process began in August last year when operating licences for the new routes, which were then due to launch at the end of 2012 were submitted.

The first hearing set by the PRE was for December 2012, but the PRE postponed the hearing to this week due to objections from concerned parties. The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) – on behalf of some taxi associations – and Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) lodged objections with the PRE.

The hearing resumed this past Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at which time the PRE heard the applicants’ full application for the required operating licences. Before the City could provide its presentation in support of the issuing of the licences, GABS raised procedural objections, claiming to not have had sufficient time to prepare for the hearing. The hearing has now been delayed until the first week of February.

The City is disappointed by these delays, and that this is holding back the implementation of our public transport service which aims to benefit all people in Cape Town. We believe the objections can be dealt with in a manner that does not prejudice and inconvenience the people of Cape Town.

We trust that this will be the final delay, and that we will be able to activate our new routes and infrastructure soon, in order to bring the world-class MyCiTi bus service to an even greater number of awaiting residents and visitors.

All I have to say is: *sigh*

(For what it’s worth, I was toying with “Help, I’m trapped in a traffic jam against my will!” for a blog post title…)

West Coast trafficking

Now that I have a 20 km daily commute to the office (and that’s one way!), traffic has become more of a factor than it is.  So far, it hasn’t been bad — the R27 has generally been free-flowing, except for yesterday around the Royal Ascot and Sunset Beach areas — but I’m guessing that that’s partly due to my unconventional working hours (I get to work and leave for home well after most people) and partly because much of Cape Town is likely still hungover from New Year.  So, in between work, play and everything else, I’ve been taking a look to see what the alternatives are.

And first off, there’s the MyCiti expansion plans.  Currently, the main route is from Table View down to the Civic Centre in the CBD, with some feeder routes in Table View/Parklands/Sunningdale/Bloubergstrand.  That’s about to get a major expansion.  First off, more main routes are coming onboard: from Table View, main routes will be extended to Du Noon and further on to Atlantis.  Secondly, the feeder routes in my area (Parklands) are getting a major revamp.  And thirdly, there’ll be more feeder routes: not only in my neck of the woods, but also down the Atlantic seaboard from Green Point through to Hout Bay (as well as a feeder route going particularly close to the office; worth keeping in mind if I decide to work more regular hours (fat chance!) and/or the petrol price skyrockets (which is far more plausible)).  Take the bus instead of fighting for parking when my friends decide to congregate on the Clifton Beach flavour of the month?  Oh yes, please!

Secondly, Sandown Road in Sunningdale and Parklands Main Road (in Parklands, obviously) are planned to be extended all the way through to the Postdam interchange on the N7, giving those with a public transport aversion to use the N7 and take pressure off both the R27 and Table View’s Blaauwberg Road.  Obviously, it depends on the destination of those people, but it’s much needed.  I’d use the new link to get to the Southern Suburbs, for example, but I’d continue using the R27 to get to the city centre.  At the moment, that’s estimated to be completed and opened at the end of 2013, though there didn’t seem to be much activity there when I drove past a few days ago.  (Admittedly, at around 23:30, so there wouldn’t have been much to see anyway!)

Then, not directly related, but due to the new Industrial Development Zone up north at Saldanha, a few provincial roads not far from me are getting upgraded — the R27 continuing out of the city towards Laaiplek, as well as the N7 through to Malmesbury and then the R45 to the Saldanha area.  I haven’t found much detail on this — I’m told that the only mention is in the provincial government budget at this stage.  However, a result of this will be an upgrade of Wingfield Interchange (that’s the interchange between the N1 and N7 for any non-locals reading this) by 2018.  That will affect me quite a bit with regards to using the new link road mentioned above.

So in short: if the traffic gets bad, I can either MyCiti all the things, or just slog it out for a year.  Good to know that I stay in a city that does indeed work for me.