Cape Town on Thursday launched a new transport authority, which aims to bring the city’s public transport network under one management system, with a single contracting authority.
The city also intends to introduce a single timetable, ticket and communication system for all public transport under the ‘Transport for Cape Town’ brand.
“This network will link the various modes of transport in this city into one system. That means one authority for taxis, buses and trains. It means improved connections for people along most major routes, without over-servicing of some routes and under-servicing of others. It means greater safety measures and better facilities across the board,” Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the launch.
With the National Land Transport Act of 2009 having recognised that local governments should be responsible of transport, De Lille said Cape Town was the first metro to begin implementing an integrated public transport system.
Cape Town MMC for Transport, Roads and Stormwater Brett Herron said the intention was to create a multimodal public transport service which would be accessible for nearly every person within 500 m of their home.
“A lot of work has been done already. Significantly, last month our council approved the city’s application to national government for the assignment of the subsidised bus services contracting authority function. We are in the process of finalising a business plan to support our application for the assignment of the operating licence function, the MRE [Municipal Regulating Entity]. Our due diligence study into commuter rail operations and the rail subsidy has [also] commenced,” he said.
In addition, Herron said the MyCiTi bus rapid transit project was making progress with a new business plan being taken to council at the end of October for approval of the expansion of the service into Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, among other new areas.
A key theme of the launch of 'Transport for Cape Town' was the potential of an integrated transport system to address inequality and social divides in Cape Town, where many poor people live on the outskirts of the city, removed from economic opportunities.
“Nothing else can breach the apartheid barriers of this city faster and better than integrated public transport. Nor is there any other undertaking that can create, even in the medium term, more jobs, ease the life of the poorest of the poor, and allow them also to share in the natural glories of this city,” said Western Cape Transport and Public Works Minister Robin Carlisle.
National Transport Minister Ben Martins said his department was looking forward to the new transport authority starting its work without delay. “We will continue to work together with the City of Cape Town and the provincial government to ensure that the transport authority succeeds in all its endeavours,” he said.