The Cape Town council said on Wednesday it would spend approximately R65-million to construct a new public transport interchange in Somerset West.
Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said this was the biggest public investment in the central business district in recent years, and that the interchange was designed for minibus-taxi operators, bus services, informal traders and thousands of commuters.
“If all goes as planned, we should commence with construction in the latter part of 2020. We wanted to start earlier, but unfortunately there were some delays with the procurement process,” Purchase said.
“Given the size of this project, we intend to spend approximately R65-million and ... it will take at least two years to complete. We want to ensure that everything is in order before we go ahead.”
The new interchange will be constructed on two sites abutting Church, Andries Pretorius and Victoria streets, comprising approximately 12 000 m2.
The council said it would host two open days on January 22 and 23 where residents and other interested parties would have the opportunity to ask questions.
The construction will be done in phases to limit the inconvenience to those working, doing business as well as commuting to and from the area.
Local ward councillor Stuart Pringle said city officials had already hosted several meetings, including with minibus-taxi associations, informal traders, the local business forum, tenants and library services.
“They took the comments into consideration and made some changes to the initial design of the (interchange). We are looking forward to the construction getting underway, and most importantly, to the investment that will go a long way in revitalising the Somerset West CBD area," he said.
About 230 minibus-taxis will operate from the new centre, serving Lwandle, Macassar, Firgrove, Strand, Nomzamo, Sir Lowry’s Pass Town, Zola, Khayelitsha, Stellenbosch, Somerset West and surroundings as well as Grabouw.
“We estimate that 9 500 commuters will make use of the interchange on any given weekday," said Purchase.
"This is a major project and will benefit the local community and businesses. Most importantly, we want to provide a safe, convenient, comfortable, and dignified space for the commuters and operators from the Somerset West area."