Tthe City of Cape Town's suggestion that frustrated commuters should "change their routines and gym earlier" has been slated on social media. File photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - MyCiTi companies have forked out R198 000 in 200 penalties over six months for failing to ensure buses run on time, service standards are met and drivers toe the line.

Fifteen drivers had been dismissed by their companies since January 1 following accidents or for being drunk, staying away from work and not taking proper care of buses, the mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, said on Wednesday.

Penalties had been paid by Transpeninsula Investments, Table Bay Area Rapid Transit and Kidrogen. These companies run the MyCiTi bus service in the inner city, Table View, Montague Gardens, Atlantis, Melkbosstrand, Dunoon, Salt River and Hout Bay.

“Accountability is an indispensable component in ensuring (the companies) operating the MyCiTi buses maintain the prescribed service levels. There are consequences for those who fail to do so.”

Their contracts required the companies to take disciplinary steps against errant drivers and to report these actions to the city.

One of the drivers had faced disciplinary charges and had been fired after hitting two stationary vehicles in Victoria Road, Clifton, on July 2.

Almost three weeks later, a trainee dispatcher was dismissed after being involved in an accident in Windsor Close, West Beach. It was found he had been drinking and he was arrested at the scene, Herrron said. He had been driving a spare bus to the Stables depot, but left the designated route.

Herron said conduct that was deemed grounds for firing included gross negligence, theft of company property, causing accidents, absenteeism, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without the correct licence.

“These penalties and dismissals demonstrate that we are holding bus operating companies to their contractual operating standards and obligations, despite the MyCiTi control centre not yet operating as designed.”

The city is to invite tenders to complete, test, commission and maintain the MyCiTi Control Centre’s computer systems. Numerous details had yet to be finalised to ensure the centre functioned as required, Herron said.

This was because the previous contract had not run its course and because of the complexities of the technological solutions required to manage the Integrated Rapid Transit system.

“It is anticipated that the successful bidder will commence with the work within the next three months. The MyCiTi bus operations are not directly affected as the scheduling and monitoring of the buses continue manually.”

The contract with Lumen Technologies was cancelled earlier this year, with deputy mayor Ian Neilson saying the company was unable to validate the software provided.

By that stage, the city had paid the company just under R141 million of the contract’s R234m.

Cape Times