Masiphumelele taxi drivers and residents alike are happy that as of next year they will have their own official taxi rank.The new minibus taxi facility on the corner of Kommetjie and Pokela roads in Masiphumelele in the Far South is on track to be completed by February. The City of Cape Town is spending about R13.8m on the new minibus taxi facility for commuters from Masiphumelele.“The project commenced in May this year. I drive past this site almost every day and have been keeping an eye on the progress. I’m pleased to say that the contractor is on track to complete the new facility by the end of February next year. This is good news as we are heading into the builders’ holiday period, meaning about 3300 commuters from Masiphumelele will be using this brand new facility early in 2019,” says the Mayco member for transport, Felicity Purchase.About 60 minibus taxis will operate from the new facility, which will serve commuters travelling to and from Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek, Noordhoek and Kommetjie.Masiphumelele community leader Tshepo Moletsana, who also serves on the taxi rank steering committee, says they are happy about the new facility. “They have finally heard our cries and we will officially have our own taxi rank. To be honest, we have been calling for a formalised taxi rank for a very long time. To see it take shape like this and know that it will be opened next year really means a lot. We have been engaging with the Department of Transport for years and finally we have it. I came to the area in 1998 and taxi drivers have been using an informal rank which was really small. We are glad that not only did our people get a taxi rank, but the construction has created jobs for local people and that makes us happy,” he says.Purchase says at least R461 000 has been spent to date on temporary work opportunities for local residents. A further R230 000 has been spent to date on the procurement of goods and services from local subcontractors from the area.The minibus taxi operators are currently operating from erf 1728 – a vacant erf with no services or facilities for commuters and operators. Local residents are exposed to wind, sun, and rain while they are waiting for taxis, and there are no ablution facilities or safe walkways. The new minibus taxi facility will provide residents with a safe and dignified area for waiting and connecting with their fellow commuters.“Residents must take a closer look at the administration building that is almost completed. It has a modern look and feel, and is a dignified space where operators and management can conduct meetings. The drop-off and pick-up facilities will have roofed coverings which are already visible on the site. Furthermore, there will be universally accessible walking lanes for safe and easy access to the facility. Apart from ablution facilities, we will also create a waiting area for commuters who are travelling long distance,” says Purchase.The upgrade of the stormwater system in Pokela Road will help prevent the flooding of the road in the rainy season.“Given our experience during the drought, and the current load-shedding imposed by Eskom, we are also focusing on preserving our scarce resources. The facility will be equipped with a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panel system for electricity generation. Also, part of the plan is to sink a borehole for non-potable water uses at the facility, and then we’ll also collect rainwater from the roof which will be stored in tanks,” Purchase says.