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Friday Jan 25, 2013

Objections delay roll-out of Cape Town's new MyCiTi routes

The roll-out of Cape Town's MyCiTi service to Walmer Estate, Salt River and Woodstock has been delayed for two months following last-minute objections by members of the taxi industry and Golden Arrow.

The latest MyCiTi service was supposed to launch on December 1 with the city hitting snags with the operating licences for the buses for these routes.

Initially the city said administrative problems with operating licences delayed the roll-out of the new service.

The city first applied to the Provincial Regulating Entity (PRE) for the licences in August. The first hearing was set for December and then postponed to last week after objections were raised by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) on behalf of some taxi associations and Golden Arrow Bus Services.

The city said it was disappointed by the delays saying it was holding back the implementation of the public transport service.

Santaco Western Cape chairman Vernon Billet was reluctant to discuss the taxi body's concerns saying: "We don't want to engage in the media about our objections because we have submitted them to the provincial authorities. But the fact is that the city wants the new buses to come on to routes where our members operate and our members were not consulted. It will impact negatively on our members' business."

Golden Arrow spokesman John Dammert said the bus service was not opposed to the Walmer Estate, Salt River and Woodstock routes but objected to what they call the premature application of operating licences for other routes where no official contracts have been issued.

Apart from the Walmer Estate, Salt River and Woodstock routes, Dammert said the city had also applied for licences on 22 routes where no contracts were in place.

Dammert said the city should first finalise the applications for Walmer Estate, Salt River and Woodstock before lodging other applications. He said Golden Arrow buses and other operators' service would be disrupted by MyCiTi buses along some parts of the Salt River and Woodstock routes.

Mayco member for transport Brett Herron said the applications were for three buses for Salt River, Walmer Estate and Woodstock and buses for nine routes that the city plans to launch in the inner city.

"Other routes in the application include the nine inner city routes stretching as far as Hout Bay and the Table View feeder routes," Herron said.

He said while it was the right of industry role players to lodge objections, he was disappointed by the delays.

Herron said the city's goal was to expand the public transport network that would create opportunities for all industry stakeholders.

"We will continue to engage with the industry in our effort to alleviate their concerns and fears," Herron said.

The next hearing at the Provincial Regulating Entity is scheduled for February 4.

Herron said the city could not say when the licences would be granted as this was dependent on the outcome of the hearings.

Cape Times

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