Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain residents will have to put up with limited public transport for a long time to come.
About 4,000 residents of Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain who used to rely on the MyCiti Bus N2 Express service will have to continue using other forms of transport as negotiations between the stakeholders including the City of Cape and the provincial and national departments of transport have not yielded positive results yet.
The N2 Express service was suspended in May 2019 after the partners could not agree on its terms of extension. The taxi associations in the partnership, the Congress for Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA) and Route 6 taxi association, contend that the bus company, Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS), was allowed to dominate the public transport system in the city and in the province. According to an earlier report by Elitsha, CODETA would be applying for a court ruling that GABS has been unfairly benefiting from MyCiti.
In September last year, after it was clear that negotiations fell through, the City of Cape Town announced that it was looking for an interim operator for the N2 Express, though they have not given up on finding a solution that will see the resumption of services.
Currently, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Felicity Purchase, said that the N2 Express contracting parties are currently involved in a facilitation process, under the auspices of the Western Cape provincial government and the National Department of Transport, to find a solution that will see the service reinstated.
“The outcome of the facilitation process will determine when or how the service will resume. We will make a public announcement once this process has been concluded,” Purchase said.
Meanwhile, the Metrorail Central line which services the most populous areas of the province, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, remains closed with no alternative transport being put in place by the rail company. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) administrator, Bongisizwe Mpondo, told reporters in January that limited services on the central line will be restored in September as they are revitalising the central line by upgrading the infrastructure and securing the line as part of a recovery plan.
According to an article published by GroundUp earlier this month, Mpondo said that they intend building a four-metre wall alongside the railway track and “the provision of security infrastructure like CCTV cameras, control rooms, and drones”. Mpondo also said that they are securing the replacement service of 80 buses.
Since the suspension of the central line in November last year, there has been further vandalism of the railway tracks. According to PRASA, the Bontheuwel indoor substation has been vandalised to such an extent that it does not have power supply. Loose, hanging cables on the line near Gugulethu were also seen by this reporter.