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Cape Town - The roll-out of the MyCiTi bus service along the N2 to Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, due to be completed by the end of December, is likely to be delayed.
Construction of the MyCiTi stations has not begun and the municipality has not yet acquired the 40 buses needed for the route.
No agreement has been signed with the future vehicle operating companies and the business operating model has not been finalised.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the launch of the R388 million plan that “heads would roll” if the plan did not meet the December deadline.
Some of the delays have been due to strikes in the vehicle industry, says the city.
The city has to engage with Golden Arrow and the two taxi associations that work the route along which the N2 Express will run, and formulate a business plan and contract for these operators to run the MyCiTi service.
Negotiations with the two taxi associations affected by the roll-out - Codeta in Khayelitsha and Route Six Taxi Association in Mitchells Plain - have started, but an agreement has not yet been reached.
The general secretary of Route Six, Henry Williams, said members of the association had met De Lille and the city’s transport officials last week to discuss the N2 Express project, but there were many reasons why the service might be rolled out next year.
Williams, who has been running a taxi business for 40 years in Mitchells Plain, said taxi owners could not be worse off after the transition to MyCiTi.
“We cannot be worse off, or else the deal is off. We have undertaken to revise the business plan with the city because we cannot afford to make mistakes.”
Williams said it was highly unlikely the December deadline would be met as the stations had not been built.
It is believed the manufacturing of the MyCiTi buses is at least eight weeks behind schedule.
The mayoral committee member for transport for Cape Town, Brett Herron, said it was unlikely the service would be implemented by December.
“The contract for the manufacture and supply of the buses has been awarded. We have not yet taken delivery of the buses, the first of which were due to be delivered by the beginning of December,” Herron said.
“However, we are aware that the recent strike which impacted on the automobile industry may delay the delivery of some of those buses. We are engaging with the supplier.”
Herron said the construction of the MyCiTi station at the Mitchells Plain Town Centre would start in the next few weeks and that of the Khayelitsha stations later. The arrival spaces at the Civic Centre station were complete.
“It is premature to comment on whether we will achieve our goal of operating the service by the end of December.
“To roll out the service, we need to have finalised the business operating model with the current operators, to have trained the drivers and operating staff, and we need the buses.
“We can operate a service without the construction of stations and stops having been finalised, using temporary infrastructure.”
Herron said many aspects needed to be finalised with Golden Arrow and the two taxi associations.
“This includes the formation of vehicle operating companies (from existing taxi associations) and the business operating model under which they will run the service under contract with the city.
“Key to finalising the operating model is an appropriate assessment of current market share as well as the compensation model.”
Williams said taxi owners were not happy with some aspects of the city’s business plan.
“We have to be the nucleus of this project, we have to take control of the business and handle it for the city, because that is what the city wants us to do, but we have to be sure we will sustain good business.”