27 vehicles, 6 000 users

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dial a ride INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Victoria January often needs to catch a cab when no one is available to pick her up. Photo: Thomas Holder

Cape Town residents living with disabilities face a daily struggle in commuting across the city, as a dedicated shuttle service battles to meet their transport needs.

Dial-a-Ride, a transport service run by the City of Cape Town and which caters for people with disabilities, has been plagued by a shortage of vehicles. There are just 27 vehicles for more than 6 000 registered users. The city said on its website that the service was “heavily subsidised, but the cost is equivalent to the mainstream public transport fare on that route”.

The city is set to award the tender for the service to new operators this year. It said this would improve the service.

Organisations working with people with disabilities said the MyCiTi service had made a difference, but added this was only available to people living along those routes.

Veronica January, who was left paralysed by an accident 27 years ago, said her daily travel from Ravensmead to the city centre was fraught with difficulty.

January, 57, is a receptionist for a large construction firm in Hertzog Boulevard.

She takes the MyCiTi shuttle from the Cape Town International Airport to the CBD. Her workplace is just a few metres away from the station.

But January said it was not easy to reach the airport. Sometimes, relatives were able to help. However, she often had to fork out R100 a day for a lift from her home in Ravensmead to the airport and back.

“The MyCiTi service is perfect, but getting to the airport is a problem.”

January said she had worked hard over the years and was determined not to rely on a social grant.

Even getting to her workplace from the station meant someone had to help her on to the pavement.

“Dial-a-Ride said I must wait for a seat and then they can accommodate me. But, with 27 vehicles and 6 000 people, that won’t be in my lifetime.”

Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater, said the city was working to improve the Dial-a-Ride service.

“A media release announcing the implementation of a new three-year tender will be issued shortly.”

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Cape Argus

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