The expansion of the MyCiti bus service to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain doesn’t make economic sense – and it’s only being done for political reasons, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber also believes the taxi organisations in the area will not easily be convinced to make way for the city’s integrated rapid transport system, which already functions along the West Coast and in the inner city.
“The idea of a quality MyCiti bus service to the Cape Flats might be politically attractive – but how much will it cost and where will the subsidies come from? Conditions are right for a rapid bus service on the West Coast. The distance is relatively short, there is no rail competition and the population is affluent enough to pay economic fares,” chamber president Michael Bagraim told a meeting between the city and the chamber on Tuesday.
He said a similar service to the Cape Flats would “double trip lengths”.
“There would be no dedicated roadway and the population cannot afford economic fares. We are trying to model our rapid transport services on some highly successful public transport services in two compact South American cities.
“The difference is this: the average trip length in the model cities is 7km. In Cape Town the average bus trip is 20km. In London the average public transport trip is just 8km,” said Bagraim.
He said this meant buses would be less productive here.
“Many of them will be able to make just one return trip in peak commuting times,” said Bagraim.
Mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater Brett Herron said he failed to understand why the chamber was not in support of integrated transport.
He said employees would benefit most when the service started at the end of 2013.
“We will also be engaging with taxi associations in the coming months. We understand it’s going to be complex, but our track record on the West Coast is going to assist us,” said Herron.
He told the meeting that the Metro South East had some of the highest densities in the City of Cape Town and there was an opportunity to provide important links between high-density areas through an integrated public transport service.
“As can be seen from the 2008 analysis, the Metro South East rail corridor is operating over capacity.
“We believe there is a definite need for a complementary trunk to the rail,” said Herron