The new MyCiTi bus service received rave reviews from commuters when it officially took to the road for the first time on the route from Table View to Cape Town on Monday.
The long-awaited Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system, called MyCiTi, which has come under heavy criticism from some quarters for delays and for serving only the elite, got off to a flying start, selling about 350 tickets by the early afternoon.
Social networking websites were also abuzz as MyCiTi became a national trending topic on Twitter.
Rene de Kock had the honour of being the first passenger when she boarded the 9am bus from Table View for a 30-quick minute hop to town.
“I used to sit in traffic for two hours. I’d be on the freeway at 6.15am and would only get into town about 7.30am or 7.45am. I’m falling in love with the bus already,” said De Kock, who only had to walk a few metres to Standard Bank Cash Centre from the Civic Centre station.
Peter Solomon, the first member of the public to be sold a ticket in the opposite direction, from Cape Town to Table View, said it was “fortuitous”.
“I took my car in for a service and I needed to get back to Blouberg,” Solomon said.
Sedick Isaacs felt a little different, saying he was “not so excited” any more because he had been waiting anxiously since the World Cup last year.
Nomonde Manziya said she had only her husband to thank after he had convinced her to take a MyCiTi bus instead of a taxi, to save time.
“I needed to run errands in the city and I was about to take a taxi. My husband stopped me and told me to take the bus,” Manziya said.
For Pieta Meyer, the bus trip meant saving hundreds of rands on petrol every month.
“From next week, I will be using it every day. I have to be at work by 8.30am and it usually takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get to town. They say it will take about 20 minutes, but we will have to wait and see about that. But with petrol at R10 a litre, buying a ticket is going to be so much cheaper,” Meyer said.
An excited Andre Bredenkamp, who travelled on the first trip with friends Wilma Louw and Dorothy Klopper, closed his florist business to take the trip to town.
“We closed shop to be the first people on the bus,” Bredenkamp said.
“We’re just going to have coffee in town. I will definitely use it to go to town to do some activities,” he said.
On Sunday, taxi operators managed to sign contracts with the city, less than a day before the launch.
Transport, Roads and Major Projects executive director Mike Marsden, who travelled on the maiden voyage to Cape Town, said: ”We had a very good and strong team. We met our deadline and we’re very excited.”
He said the next step would be to work towards the longer- term 12-year contracts once the current interim contracts had lapsed. “So we’ve opened a new era in Cape Town.
“We hope it grows and becomes well-utilised. This is the first demonstration of the IRT’s capabilities.”- Cape Times