THE city is moving full steam ahead, launching the MyCiTi bus service to poor areas such as Atlantis and Dunoon next month – while they will also do a trial of handing out free MyConnect cards to make it accessible to all residents.
Yesterday the mayoral committee recommended that the council approve waiving the fee for a certain period for a MyConnect card, which costs R25. Commuters buy the card and load money on to it.
Mayco member for transport for Cape Town Brett Herron said the proposal to give commuters free MyConnect cards came as there is a concern that purchasing the card may be a barrier for the poor to access the MyCiTi service.
Next month the city will launch the service to areas like Atlantis, Melkbosstrand, Dunoon and Hout Bay which will service commuters from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu.
MyCiTi will also launch in Century City, Oranjezicht and Vredehoek next month.
December is also the deadline given by mayor Patricia de Lille for MyCiTi to be launched in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, a flagship project for the DA administration as this would serve two of the largest poor communities in the city.
Herron said if council approved waiving the MyConnect card fee at the end of the month, the city would test the method for a few weeks by giving the card to any commuter who requested one.
“As we roll out new routes in new areas we will provide the card for free for a five- or six-week period.
“We will also use it as a marketing method to educate people on how to use the card,” Herron said.
He added: “As we roll out more routes, Golden Arrow and Sibanye buses and taxis will come off the road. We will remove the cost of the card to whoever requests it, but people will still have to pay the fares.” He said the MyCiTi fares were competitive and cheaper than most public transport modes.
He said the city was also on track to launch the MyCiTi routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. This will be an N2 Express service running directly to the city centre.
With less two months to go till the deadline for this route to be launched, Herron said the city was still trying to finalise operating agreements with Golden Arrow, Codeta taxi association in Khayelitsha and the Route Six taxi association in Mitchells Plain.
The city is negotiating contracts with these stakeholders as they currently serve the direct routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the CBD. Golden Arrow and the two taxi associations will become the vehicle operating companies for MyCiTi.
Unlike with other routes in Dunoon and Table View, the city said taxi operators in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain would not have to scrap their taxis and surrender their operating licences, as MyCiTi would be a top-up service to these areas with huge transport capacity constraints.