Cape Town - It will take another six months for the N2 Express MyCiTi service to Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha to be fully functional because the infrastructure is nowhere near complete.
But the buses will run on time on Saturday, the N2 Express launch date.
The infrastructure was to have been completed by December, but the deadline was shifted to July.
The city now says the infrastructure, such as bus stops, will be in place by the end of the year.
When the Cape Times visited the site of the MyCiti station at the Mitchells Plain Town Centre on Sunday, it was littered with rubble.
Despite this, mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said the MyCiTi buses would begin running on the route on the launch day scheduled – July 5.
The N2 Express was to be the first phase of the MyCiTi service to reach predominantly coloured and black areas, but was delayed in December for several reasons, among them that buses were not yet ready and negotiations were continuing with taxi organisations and Golden Arrow Bus Services.
Herron said more buses were to arrive later this week.
“The service will start with temporary infrastructure – not unlike the commencement of services in other parts of Phase 1. The construction of the infrastructure will be complete by the end of this year,” Herron told the Cape Times on Sunday.
“Construction will continue for the remainder of this year, but this will not prevent the service from operating.
“In Khayelitsha some stops have been earmarked for testing – as agreed between the transport planners and the leadership of Codeta Khayelitsha. This is to test that the planned stops are in the best locations for the commuters.
“They are temporary by design until their location is confirmed as being best suited to commuter needs. Once this is confirmed they will be constructed with permanent infrastructure.”
Asked whether the buses would be ready by Saturday, Herron said: “The full complement of 40 buses is due to be delivered by the end of the year – before the planned roll-out of the second routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain respectively.
“The delivery schedule for the buses needed for the first roll-out this coming weekend is tight, but the service will roll out and, if necessary, we will make use of spare low-floor buses from Phase 1.”
The N2 Express service will take buses from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the city centre using dedicated BMT lanes on the N2.
Herron said the N2 Express was a top-up service in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. It was set to transport 3 000 passengers a day during the peak hours.
“Once the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has completed its programme to modernise Metrorail the city will review the N2 Express Service, since BRT should not compete with rail. We will therefore not construct dedicated red lanes for the N2 Express Service, nor is there a need for them.”
Routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to areas like Claremont, Durbanville and Century City would, however, have dedicated red lanes.
“By the time we have fully rolled out all four routes at the end of the year, we will have added a few thousand additional passenger trip opportunities to the morning and evening peak hours, plus a reliable and frequent service in the off-peak (period).
“The Lansdowne/Wetton Road corridor is prioritised as the next MyCiTi phase and construction will commence in the 2015/16 financial year.”
ANC leader in the city council Tony Ehrenreich said on Sunday: “There is a greater consideration for rich areas. There are no dedicated lanes for the new service.
“Only when you get to the N2, the buses will link to a dedicated lane.
“The Milnerton service is nowhere close to the Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha one.”