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The N2 Express routes back as promised by the City of Cape Town

MyCiTi announced the restart of our N2 Express routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the Cape Town CBD from 19 February 2022. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency(ANA)

MyCiTi announced the restart of our N2 Express routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the Cape Town CBD from 19 February 2022. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency(ANA)

Published Feb 21, 2022

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Cape Town - There were cheers and jubilation on the streets of Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain at the weekend, as commuters saw the MyCiTi N2 Express buses restarting service in their communities.

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.

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

Relaunching the route, the directors of the N2 Company, the City manager and senior officials joined mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Urban Mobility Mayco member Rob Quintas on a trip on the N2 Express service.

They travelled from the Civic Centre station to Kuyasa in Khayelitsha, and took the return trip from the Town Centre station in Mitchells Plain at around 2.30pm on Saturday.

MyCiTi announced the restart of our N2 Express routes from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the Cape Town CBD from 19 February 2022. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

An astonished commuter at the Kuyasa station, Sinethemba Ntantiso, said: “This is shocking, but surprising at the same time, because it has been too long since we haven’t been seeing the MyCiTi buses in Khayelitsha.”

Another commuter, at Mitchells Plain station, Juanita Scott, 56, thanked the City and the shareholders for bringing the service back on the road, saying “it is going to be heaven for us, especially to those of my age and older.”

Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said they were excited to have allowed and experienced the relaunch of the service.

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“We have seen our people suffering because of the lack of public transport in our areas. That did not augur well with us and we decided to come to terms with shareholders,” Khanyi said.

Route Six Taxi Association chairperson, Henry Williams, said he was glad for the service, not because it was going to benefit him as a director, but because it was going to help the already suffering communities in terms of transportation needs.

Williams said the communities need the service more than they needed it.

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“This is only the beginning, and we are glad that these buses are back. People have been asking me about when are we bringing these buses back on the road.”

Quintas said the imminent return of the N2 Express service was a vital addition to their public transport offering.

“Given the implosion of passenger rail, commuters from the metro-south east need reliable public transport services now more than ever.

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“The N2 Express service will provide commuters with an alternative,” he said.

Quintas said before the service was suspended in May 2019, up to 6 000 passengers used it on a daily basis, which underscored the demand and popularity of the service.

Hill-Lewis said commuters will notice that a number of the bus shelters along the four routes in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain were in a state of disrepair due to vandalism and theft.

“We are prioritising these for urgent repair, but for now the service must resume for residents. I want to urge residents to support us and help protect infrastructure that is there for their benefit,” said Hill-Lewis.

GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said his party remained concerned about the capacity being provided as the service was apparently starting with 34 buses.

“This is a lot less capacity than what we started with in 2014 and in 2014 there was a fully operational rail service,” he said.

The service will resume in three phases, starting off with three of the four routes: Phase one: February 19 to March 4 (D01, D02, D04), which will be a limited start-up service.

Phase two: March 5 to March 18 (D01, D02, D04), additional buses will be added to match passenger demand, and phase three: March 19 onwards (D01, D02, D03, D04), the D03 route is introduced as the service becomes fully operational.

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