Is this the solution to Cape Town's horrendous traffic problem?

By Mieke Vlok
29 September 2016

If you're a Capetonian who works nine to five, you're going to LOVE this.

The Mother City is known for its beautiful mountains, white sandy beaches and first-class tourist attractions, but anyone who actually lives in the city will tell you that the terrible traffic is all they get to experience on most days.

Now government has come up with a clever idea to lessen the amount of traffic that holds most Cape Town up every morning and evening: flexible hours where some employees work earlier or later shifts than the usual nine-to-five.

“Car ownership among Capetonians is higher than ever before. Due to the demand and population growth, many residents spend about three hours on the city’s arterial routes during the peak-hour traffic periods on week days,” said mayoral committee member Brett Heron.


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In August this year it was announced that Cape Town has the worst traffic in South Africa. South Africa is ranked 47th in the world for its horrendous traffic.

“The general trend that employees travel in historic and inflexible working hours require most employees to start and finish working between 8 am and 5 pm This contributes to the traffic congestion and is exacerbated by the same direction towards the centres of employment.”

The city council wants to start investigating the possibility of getting employers to let their staff work flexi-hours or allow them to work from satellite offices outside of business hubs. It is apparently also an option to let staff work from home during peak traffic hours so that they can commute when things are quieter.

“These are all proposals that the City needs to investigate and implement where feasible.”


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The planned solutions are knows as the Travel Demand Management Strategy (TDMS) and residents have until 28 October geleentheid to decide whether or not the idea is feasible.

Overseas flexi-hours are already popular, not only to alleviate traffic but also to allow people to manage their own time. It’s especially useful to working parents or employees with responsibilities outside of the work place.

Swansea, on the coast of Wales, for example, has a rule which says that state employees only have to be in the office between 10 am and 12: pm and between 2 pm and 3 pm. The rest of the hours, from 7.30 am until 10 am from 12 pm until 2 pm and from 3 pm until 6.30 pm – can be used as employees see fit, as long as everyone works seven hours and 24 minutes every day.

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The city of Calgary in Canada even have a system where employees are allowed to get through their work in four days and then take the fifth day off. And in 2014 a study by Stanford University in the US found that employees who worked from home were 13,5 percent more productive as their office based counterparts.

It's time to get voting Cape Town!

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