Cape Town - 140402 - Striking MyCiTi bus drivers disrupted several routes in Cape Town on Wednesday morning, a city official said. Several drivers from the Transpeninsula Investments (TPI) vehicle operating company started striking at 05:00, transport mayoral committee member Brett Herron said. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is using smaller buses for the MyCiTi airport service because the 61 longer buses that were ordered for the Atlantis and N2 Express routes have been delayed.

Brett Herron confirmed that because of strikes in the motor industry earlier this year, the delivery of the buses had been affected.

“Rather than hold up the N2 Express service, we shifted the longer buses from the airport to this route,” said Herron.

It was a temporary measure and the additional long buses would be ready by October or November, he said.

But many commuters on the airport route have complained about the inconvenience this has caused.

William Barker of Oranjezicht said in a letter to the media that he had had to walk behind the terminus building to board his bus from the airport, because it was too small to use the platform.

“By the time I had scurried around the building in the rain, the bus engine was running and I nearly missed it altogether.”

Another commuter, who declined to be named, said she had had to walk around the terminal and into the bus lane to get on the bus.

There were no signs warning commuters that the bus would not be leaving from the platform. “Security does escort you, but that is more of a safety concern.”

Passengers have to board on the left-hand side of the bus, where other buses still have to pass.

One of the recurring complaints from commuters across the city is the schedule delays in the MyCiTi service. The city has explained that it is calling for tenders for a new service provider to manage the control room after the cancellation of the Lumen Technologies contract a few months ago.

But Herron said on Thursday at the launch of the new pedestrian signals that the city was also investigating the use of bus identification equipment to help MyCiTi buses delayed because of traffic congestion.

This system would make it possible for buses’ locations to be identified and relayed to traffic signal controllers so that they could temporarily change the timing of the traffic lifts to minimise delays.

Meanwhile, Transport for Cape Town has extended the period for free myconnect cards for residents of Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha to August 31.

The card usually costs R35 but for the next five weeks residents can collect their free cards on weekdays from Desmond Tutu Hall or the Khayelitsha Multipurpose Centre, or Golden Arrow Bus Service kiosk in Mitchells Plain.

This is to enable Cape Flats residents who have been stranded by the cancelled Metrorail trains, to travel on the MyCiTi N2 Express instead.

“We are acutely aware of the fact that some of these households have already spent a significant proportion of their income on Metrorail tickets and therefore do not have extra resources to buy a myconnect card to travel on the N2 Express service.

“We believe these free cards will go a long way towards giving more residents access to the MyCiTi service,” said Herron.

Cape Argus