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City of Cape Town, N2 Company getting fleet ready for new N2 Express bus service

Siphosethu Jack and Kayla du Toit are part of the mechanics team inspecting and servicing the bus fleet for the N2 Express service. Picture: Supplied

Siphosethu Jack and Kayla du Toit are part of the mechanics team inspecting and servicing the bus fleet for the N2 Express service. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 11, 2022

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Cape Town - More than 30 buses, a combination of 12m low-floor buses and 18m low-floor buses, are being assessed by contracted mechanics.

They are preparing assessment reports to determine the condition of the engine, gearbox and differential of every bus, in a bid to get ready for the N2 Express bus service.

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The MyCiTi N2 Express service is expected to resume operations this month, and buses will travel to the Civic Centre station via the N2 freeway.

Mayco member for urban mobility Rob Quintas said preparations for D-Day included inspecting and servicing the buses, and preparing the fleet for roadworthy testing and licensing.

The service, which includes Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, 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 between the City and members of the N2 Express joint venture operating company collapsed. The company comprises the Route 6 Taxi Association, Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs), and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations.

Quintas said he went to the depot in Epping where engineering staff were busy servicing the fleet and preparing the buses for operations.

“I wanted to see for myself what the inspections entail, and I must say I was impressed by how thorough the process is, and the care taken to ensure that everything is tip-top,” he said.

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He said every bus was inspected for mechanical and electrical faults, and their exterior bodywork and interior scrutinised.

“This is to ensure the buses are safe, reliable and adhere to all legal requirements.”

Quintas said they were taking oil samples of major components for testing, inspecting v-belts and replacing them if required, inspecting front and rear axles, brakes and so forth.

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“They were also conducting diagnostic tests, inspecting cooling systems, and examining all other safety components required to be in good order for receiving roadworthy certificates.

“They are also inspecting the… communication devices, bells, seats, and the on-board validators where the passengers tap in and out, as well as the cameras.

“Thereafter, the buses will be deep-cleaned and fumigated, and washed, and then taken for roadworthy testing and licensing,” he said.

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Gabs chief executive, Francois Meyer said they were pleased that they could again sign the N2 Express contract.

“Just as in the first phase of N2 Express, we pledge to do skills transfer to the taxi industry. We look forward to building relationships with them and hope that this will bode well for what comes in phase two,” Meyer said.

Mitchells Plain United Residents Association chairperson Norman Jantjies said the community was happy because people would now have alternative transport to get to work.

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

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said it was difficult to sense the mood of commuters, because of the way the service had been abruptly halted.

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