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Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

Cape's MyCiTi launches loop to Salt River

Less than 24 hours after the City of Cape Town received its licence to operate a MyCiTi bus service through Walmer Estate, 9m vehicles were traversing the suburb's narrow roads.

MyCiTi buses are operating from the Civic Centre to Walmer Estate and Salt River.

The city applied for the operating licences in August and the service was originally due to begin on December 1. But it was stalled by a series of objections lodged with the Western Cape Provincial Operating Licensing Boardby Golden Arrow and the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco).

"We have been ready since the end of last year. The resources have been there, the drivers trained. All that was missing was the go-ahead," said Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport.

The new service operates on a circular route between the central terminus at the Civic Centre and Salt River train station, and the buses run at 20-minute or 30-minute intervals.

Walmer Estate resident Georgina Reuter welcomed the service.

"Today is the first time I'm using it. I have been living in Walmer Estate for 63 years," she said.

"In all that time there's never been transport down to Main Road where I do my shopping. I'm really happy, because now I don't have to walk all the way down the hill and back again."

At a media briefing yesterday Herron introduced the service, explained the timetables and highlighted special features - the buses are low to the ground to allow for easy access, they are wheelchair friendly, and there are "change management ambassadors" to sell myconnect cards and explain the system for buying credit.

Lerato Sitole, the ambassador on the media briefing trip, said people were initially sceptical about having to buy a MyConnect card, which cost R23.

"But once they get used to the new system, see that the service is cheaper than other transport options - and more comfortable - they relax," she said.

It is understood that the city is looking into promoting the service as a restaurant, market and leisure route because of the dining outlets and Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, which fall on or near the route.

"I think it will make it easier for the staff and customers. It would be less stressful for foreigners having to travel from the CBD," said Retha Neethling, restaurant manager at Jamaica Me Crazy.

Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwyn Dyke said the company did not oppose the new service.

"(Golden Arrow) had objected to the fact that MyCiTi had, at the same time, prematurely applied for operating licences along other routes where no official contracts have been issued," she said.

Cape Argus

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