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Cape commuters sceptical about the return of the N2 Express service in February

The MyCiTi N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha has come to a grinding halt after a dispute between the City and the N2 Express joint venture. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

The MyCiTi N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha has come to a grinding halt after a dispute between the City and the N2 Express joint venture. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 31, 2022

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Cape Town - Thousands of commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain are still sceptical over whether the N2 Express MyCiTi bus service will really be back on the road next month as promised by the City.

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said at the moment it was quite difficult to sense the mood of commuters because of the manner in which the service had been abruptly halted the last time.

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The service has been out of operation since a dispute arose among the route’s taxi industry shareholders when their contracts ended in the first half of 2019.

Negotiations collapsed between the City and members of the N2 Express joint venture operating company. The company comprises the Route 6 Taxi Association, the Golden Arrow Bus Service, and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations.

However, recently the City announced it had signed a new operating contract with N2 Express, which is equally owned by Lisekhonikamva from Khayelitsha, Route 6 from Mitchells Plain, and Golden Arrow, saying it was a major achievement that would see the buses return to Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha by February.

Mitchells Plain United Residents Association chairperson Norman Jantjies said they were happy because people would now have alternative transport to work.

“We trust that it is going to be a stable service, and we would also ensure that there are closed waiting areas,” said Jantjies.

He said they would have to work closely with communities to contribute towards the safety of the passengers.

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Transport Mayco member Rob Quintas said they were aiming for the service to start towards the second half of February.

Quintas said drivers were being trained for the routes, stations were being repaired, and buses were being licensed and serviced.

“At this stage, those three components are what our focus is on, and as soon as there are sufficient vehicles and drivers ready, and stations in a safe state of readiness, we should be able to kick off the service,” said Quintas.

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He said the imminent return of the N2 Express service was a vital addition to the public transport offering. Given the implosion of passenger rail, commuters from the metro’s south-east needed reliable public transport services now more than ever.

GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said it was a disgrace that it had taken 30 months to get the contract signed.

“I truly do hope that the service will start operating next month, and that there are plans to add additional capacity,” said Herron.

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Cape Town’s mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said: “This is very important progress, and great for the city. We look forward to seeing the N2 Express service up and running as soon as possible. Capetonians urgently need safe, affordable and reliable public transport."

Hill-Lewis said with the return of the N2 Express service, thousands of commuters from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha would be able to board the blue MyCiTi buses destined for the Cape Town CBD.

“I want to thank the N2 company, our partners who will be operating the service. Thank you for your commitment to return the service to commuters from the metro’s south-east," he said.

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