The purpose of the city's survey is to determine how many passengers are using minibus taxis and the routes they travel. File picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Media.

The City of Cape Town plans to carry out an extensive survey of the city’s 800 minibus taxi routes, the thousands of stops along them and even passengers’ experience of their journeys.

The surveys, which will start early next year and run for at least a year, is intended to determine the demand, supply and use of all transport modes in the city.

The council estimates the minibus taxi industry transports more than half a million people a day.

The city’s mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, said the survey information will assist in the planning of how the minibus service can be integrated with scheduled bus and rail services and where new routes and services will be required over the next five years.

As of May last year, 23 758 minibus taxis were registered in the city.

“The city must plan ahead to meet the future commuter demand and we must constantly review these plans. We can’t base our planning on assumptions,” said Herron.

The city, he said, needed to know exactly how many people were using the different forms of public transport - minibus taxis, buses, trains and non-motorised transport.

Herron said the city’s transport authority, Transport for Cape Town, required on-board route and passenger data to determine the routes operating within the city’s boundaries and the areas where potential new routes might be required.

A similar survey is under way on the Golden Arrow Bus Service routes.

The minibus taxi survey would form part of a bigger data collection exercise for all public transport modes across the city over the next three years, Herron said.

“Given the on-demand, as opposed to scheduled nature of services, it is difficult to know exactly how many routes or passengers are utilising this mode of transport. The purpose of this survey is to determine exactly that,” said Herron.

Travel needs to be assessed too

But the surveys were not only about counting the number of routes and stops, the travel needs of passengers would also be assessed.

The survey would include a set of questions about travel time from origin to destinations, waiting time and the ease or difficulty in transfer to other modes of transport, he said.

The city had appointed a contractor to collect the data, which would also be used to update the city’s next Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan for the period 2017-2022 and the Public Transport Network Plan until 2032.

“The location of all the stops along the routes, together with the number of passengers boarding and alighting per stop or rank, must be provided. This information is crucial for the planning of new routes, facilities for picking up and dropping off passengers, and integration with scheduled bus and rail services,” said Herron.

The city would be engaging with the minibus taxi industry at its next subcommittee meeting, before the individual surveys would be carried out.

“We need the support and co-operation of the industry to ensure that we collect accurate data on board the minibus taxis and along the routes,” said Herron.

SA National Taxi Council general secretary Mzoxolo Dibela said surveys were carried out on the routes every year with respect to the number of vehicles on the routes and the loads of passengers that passed through the interchanges.

“The surveys are a good idea to determine the stability and the viability of the routes,” he said.

Cape Argus