Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain commuters are not getting the bus service from MyCiti bus service. This was caused by contractual problems between the City of Cape Town and Santaco. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - GOOD party secretary-general, Brett Herron on Monday said he will appeal to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to intervene in reinstating MyCiTi bus services, suspended for almost two months, to residents of Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

He said the City of Cape Town has abandoned almost 6 000 commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain who used the MyCiTi bus service daily. “I find the neglect of our residents by our City leadership shocking and outrageous. The lack of care is astounding and heads should roll,” said Herron in a statement.

“I know that this service to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain was never part of the current Mayor’s plan for MyCiTi but he and his mayoral committee must surely be aware of the massive public transport struggles that communities on the Cape Flats endure,” he added.

He said it was almost 5 years to the day since he and his team had launched the MyCiTi N2 Express service in July 2014, Herron said. “Over the past few years of providing MyCiTi services to Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain, we have encountered occasional operational problems, such as vandalism, occasional sabotage of our buses and strikes.

“However, we always did our utmost to ensure services, or to rapidly restore interrupted services. Now, for six weeks, we have heard no plan, and no alternative, for the thousands of workers and learners who depend on this public transport to get to work or school and back.”

He said he had followed up on complaints that he had been receiving about the conditions commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain had to endure. 

“At 5:30 this morning (Monday), I was at Kuyasa, where the service first commenced operating on July 5, 2014, and then went to Site C taxi rank where many of the Khayelitsha commuters now stand in long queues, in the cold and dark, waiting to get a taxi.

“In the queues in Khayelitsha, a lady pleaded with me to help reinstate the MyCiTi service. To get to work in the CBD, she used to spend R50 a week using the early off-peak MyCiTi services. Now she is forced to pay R20 for a taxi trip each way, increasing her travel costs by 400 percent to R200 each week,” Herron said.

Other commuters said their costs have increased to more than R60 per day. An additional 400 taxi trips to the CBD are required to transport the 6,000 commuters stranded by the cancelled MyCiTi service, according to Herron.

He said none of the many former MyCITi commuters he spoke to in the taxi queues have received their promised refunds, adding further to their financial burdens. One man explained that he tried to use the trains instead, a more affordable option than bus or taxi, but the crowded trains, lack of reliability and long delays made it impossible to get to work and back on time each day. 

“When the service was cancelled, I called on Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela to assist since it was evident that the current city leadership had failed. Six weeks later, it is clear that neither the city nor provincial leadership appreciate the importance of this service.  They have simply been absent,” Herron said.

African News Agency/ANA