City of Cape Town working on refunds for MyCiTi commuters after Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain route suspended

2019-06-04 16:49
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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The City of Cape Town is working on plans to refund MyCiTi commuters left stranded after the expiry of its contract with the joint venture companies that provide the N2 Express route service, its transport MMC said on Tuesday. 

The service provides transport for mainly Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain residents into the city and back.

"I am pleased to say that we have devised a mechanism to allow commuters who have been affected by the suspension of the service to claim for refunds," said Felicity Purchase, member of the mayoral committee for transport. 

"We will inform commuters once the mechanism is available and ready, so that they can use alternative modes of public transport."

In the meantime, the department was still working on the "complexities" of the lapsed contract with the companies that provided the service for the city. 

"We want to get the N2 Express buses on the road again as soon as possible. However, we need to follow due process and must do so in a manner that provides a long-term solution. 

"At this point in time we are dealing with a number of complexities. We do not want to repeat past mistakes."

Commuters left in lurch

The City announced the abrupt suspension on Saturday, after the contract expired on Friday night. 

This left commuters who had already loaded their cards for the cashless system scrambling to find, and pay for, alternative transport on beleagured Metrorail trains, or stand in lengthy minibus taxi queues.

Brett Herron, a former transport MMC who left to join Patricia de Lille's GOOD party, and is now a member of the Western Cape legislature, criticised the City for leaving commuters in the lurch when they could have averted the crisis.

"Those include commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, businesses whose staff will now struggle to get to work on time, and countless others who will be stuck in the resultant traffic jams."

'Time is of the essence'

Last year, the City narrowly avoided a similar situation, before an 11th hour agreement was reached.

"Time is of the essence, but the City will refrain from making rash decisions, as we are pursuing a resolution that will ensure a sustainable solution going forward," Purchase said on Tuesday. 

The N2 Express Joint Venture (JV) Vehicle Operating Company is responsible for operating the MyCiTi buses between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and the Civic Centre bus station, as part of the City's Integrated Rapid Transit system.

READ:City of Cape Town halts MyCiTi N2 Express service, angering former mayoral committee member

The JV shareholders for the affected routes are the Golden Arrow Bus Service, the Congress Organisation of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) and the Route 6 Taxi Association in Mitchells Plain. 

It was started in 2014 after the City compensated taxi companies for routes they had cut, and at the same time trained taxi drivers to be bus drivers and administrators, in an effort to reduce congestion and empower transport operators.

Codeta chairperson Besuthu Ndungane told News24 that they were currently still at a stalemate and losing a lot of money as a result of the impasse. 

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