City to spend R65m on new transport facility for Somerset West
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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town will spend about R65 million on the construction of a new public transport interchange (PTI) in Somerset West, with with multiple benefits for commuters, pedestrians, public transport operators and traders.
Around 1 000 commuters are expected to make use of the PTI on week days. The PTI will be constructed on two different sites in the Somerset West CBD, one behind the Town Hall and another on the Shoprite side. It is designed for minibus-taxi operators, bus services, informal traders, and thousands of commuters. If all goes as planned, the building work will commence by the end of November 2021.
Residents and interested and affected parties are invited to attend an open day on November 5, where officials will share information about how the construction will affect the surrounding area, the City said in a statement on Wednesday. The construction of the new PTI is the biggest public investment in the central business district of Somerset West in recent years.
The new PTI will comprise two sites abutting Church, Andries Pretorius and Victoria streets. Together, it will be approximately 4 000m² in size to accommodate both minibus taxi operators and the Golden Arrow Bus Service.
’’Given the magnitude of this project, it will take about two years to complete. During this time, there will be an impact on all of those frequenting the area, from commuters to public transport operators, the general public, pedestrians and the informal traders.
’’We want to ensure that users are well aware of how they will be affected and I urge all to please attend the meeting so that they can be informed ahead of time,’’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Rob Quintas.
The construction will be done in phases to limit the inconvenience to commuters and all of those working and doing business in the area.
’’I want to say upfront that some level of inconvenience is to be expected. We need the community and operators and traders to please support the project so that we can complete the construction on time without any delays,’’ said Quintas.
The PTI will include a new annexure building where operators can host meetings. The double-storey building will include an ablution facility on the ground floor. Covered waiting areas will protect commuters from sun and rain and wind, and there will be facilities for informal traders.
’’The construction will include green building elements such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels, permeable paving and LED lighting. Given climate change and our focus on environmental sustainability, all of the City’s projects include green elements to make our infrastructure more resilient and environmentally friendly,’’ said Quintas.
Pedestrians and road users in general, will also benefit from this project:
- All of the new walking lanes will be universally accessible with dropped kerbs and tactile paving for those with special needs.
- The upgrade of Church Street will make it more pedestrian-friendly and improve the overall safety of road users.
- The upgrades will improve traffic flow in the area
Ward councillor Stuart Pringle said: ’’City officials have hosted several meetings with interested and affected parties, among which the minibus-taxi associations, informal traders, the local business forum, tenants, and the library services.
’’They took the comments into consideration and made some changes to the initial design of the PTI. We are looking forward to the construction getting under way, and most importantly, to the investment that will go a long way in uplifting the Somerset West CBD area.’’
About 300 minibus taxis will operate from the new PTI, serving 12 destinations: Lwandle, Macassar, Firgrove, Strand, Nomzamo, Sir Lowry’s Pass Town, Zola, Khayelitsha, Stellenbosch, Somerset West and surroundings, and Grabouw. The Golden Arrow Bus Service will also operate from the facility.
’’We estimate that approximately 1 000 commuters will make use of the PTI on weekdays. This is a major project and will benefit the local community and businesses, and most importantly, we want to provide a safe, convenient, comfortable and dignified space for the commuters and operators from the Somerset West area,’’ said Quintas.