Low-income families in outlying suburbs like Khayelitsha spend around 43% of their income on transport, says Brett Herron, Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Transport and Urban Development.
In areas like Atlantis – which is further from the city centre – this figure can be as high as 60% of a household's income.
Herron was speaking at the Planning Africa 2018 Conference taking place in Cape Town this week. The theme is "The Making of Modern African Cities".
This high cost of transport is one of the reasons densification is important in urban planning, Herron said. It goes alongside growing public transport like bus services, to reduce commuting times.
"We want to see Cape Town to develop into a more inclusive city, offering opportunities for all so that we can continue to attract investments and jobs for all," said Herron.
Fellow speaker Nthato Minyuku, president of the SA Planning Institute (SAPI), said the role of planners was to manage the balance for between inclusivity and ensuring sustainable spatial outcomes.
Earlier on Monday, Mayor-elect for Cape Town Dan Plato had been scheduled to join commuters on Metrorail alongside City of Cape Town Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith and Team One South Africa spokesperson on crime John Steenhuisen on a ride-along from Mitchell's Plain from to Cape Town Station.
The ride-along could not take place, however, as no train arrived.
According to a statement from the Democratic Alliance, commuters eventually took alternative means of transport after waiting for approximately an hour, and the three members scheduled to participate in the ride-along returned to the city by car.
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