‘Traffic chaos’

2018-03-06 06:01

Reckless driving has reportedly taken its toll in Pinelands. Motorists complain that they often get stuck during peak hours due to reckless driving by taxi operators and motorists. It has been reported that some drivers ignore road signs and drive on pavements to avoid waiting in traffic.

The areas said to be most affected are Forest Drive, Pinelands bridge, Mutual Station and Howard Centre.

Ward councillor Brian Watkyns says the problem has been going on for some time. He says it is mostly taxis that are guilty of disobeying the road signs, speeding, dropping off passengers wherever they please and driving illegal routes.

He says that when the problem started, he and a former traffic committee, with the help of Premier Helen Zille, proposed a MyCiTi bus route, but the proposal was rejected.

“(Mayco member for transport and urban development) Brett Herron was approached by the premier and myself on separate occasions to encourage the introduction of the MyCiTi bus service in the Pinelands and Thornton areas prior to the Conradie developmentbeing occupied. So far the City has not been able to see its way clear to bring forward the expected date, which appears to be around 2023.”

Watkyns says that instead, the taxi unit has carried out operations in Pinelands to deal with errant taxi drivers and it is expected that the City will engage with the taxi industry. He says they are afraid the traffic issue will intensify once the Conradie construction has been completed. The development is expected to start next month and would comprise residential units.

Watkyns adds: “The worst offences occur on Forest Drive, but failure to stop at stop streets is widespread throughout the suburb. Other issues include: overtaking the two traffic lanes facing oncoming traffic on the Pinelands bridge; using the right-turn lane to drive straight, creating an extra lane to be able to push in further ahead; jumping red traffic lights or stopping just beyond them; blocking traffic by stopping in intersections; not driving on the approved taxi routes; illegal ranking at Pinelands Station, and taking over public parking at Mutual Station. I have not seen it myself, but it is reported that taxis have been seen driving on the sidewalk in peak hour traffic.

“It can’t be coincidence that the massive increase in taxi traffic has occurred as the train service has deteriorated.”

Brett Herron, the Mayco member for transport and urban development, says the Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) is the City’s long-term plan for public transport.

He says two trunk routes are planned along Jan Smuts Drive to the east of Pinelands heading towards Prestige Drive to the north, and it is envisioned that a network of feeder routes would support the trunk network.

Responding to reports about the proposal for the MyCiTi route, Herron says: “It is important to note that the roll-out of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service to the Metro South-east takes priority in the short term. The City could consider rolling out the service to other areas across Cape Town, should we receive more funding from the National Treasury. In any event, our public transport planning, which is not confined to MyCiTi services, will respond to changing needs in our City, including a new development such as Conradie. Other road-based public transport services can be provided such as Golden Arrow buses.”

Cata public relations officer, Andile Seyamo, says it is difficult for him to deny or acknowledge the behaviour because there are different taxi associations operating on that route.

He says they could only investigate and find solutions if the people witnessing reckless driving lodge a formal report identifying the registration of the specific taxi involved.

“What people do not understand is that the taxi industry, like any other industry, has structures and procedures to be followed when dealing with these kinds of matter. We do not condone such behaviour, but we advise the public to work with us to identify and help find those drivers. Otherwise it is difficult to respond to any reports that come in this manner,” Seyamo says.

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