New look for deck

Upgrades to the station deck minibus taxi facility in the Cape Town central business district (CBD) are currently underway and are set to be completed by March.

“The construction work is anticipated to take four to six weeks to complete. In certain instances, the contractor is working after hours to ensure that the work is completed as expediently as possible. Pedestrians and commuters traversing the construction site will be accommodated along the existing walkways and thoroughfares. Vehicular access to the station deck will be restricted with booms being erected off Oswald Pirow Street. Temporary signage will be erected guiding the public to the long-distance facility, which may be relocated during the refurbishment work,” says Mayco member for transport, Felicity Purchase.

Work on the refurbishment project started on Wednesday last week. This follows repair work done in 2015. “The maintenance intervals are approximately three years apart,” says Purchase.

“The station deck has been used as a minibus taxi rank since the mid 1990s. The work that is being undertaken is a maintenance project and not an upgrade project. The station deck was closed for a time in 2015 because the City’s maintenance teams did general maintenance which included road resurfacing to take care of the potholes in the road surface and pedestrian sidewalks. The team also repainted the road markings, repaired the lighting and conducted maintenance on all of the signage and destination boards to assist commuters in finding the correct departure lanes to their destinations.”

While the taxi rank will be closed and diverted, the long-distance taxis will still make use of the station deck. Taxis serving local destinations are now operating from the Grand Parade opposite the Cape Town City Hall in Darling Street.

“The station deck taxi rank dates back to 1996 when the roofscape of the Cape Town station was used as a minibus taxi rank for the first time. It’s one of the city’s busiest transport facilities and thousands of commuters from suburbs from all over Cape Town disembark or fetch minibus taxis from this rank. Given the traffic and the number of commuters this rank accommodates every day, it has reached a point where we must undertake urgent repair and refurbishment work. The City’s Transport Directorate will now invest approximately R2million to improve the facilities at the station deck,” says Purchase in a statement.

Maintenance teams will paint the buildings and road markings, repair the lighting, repair potholes and cracks in the road surface and sidewalks, and restore the destination boards to assist commuters in finding the correct departure lanes to their
destinations.

The minibus taxi associations were informed of the temporary arrangement in December 2018, and leaflets have been distributed to commuters and other users at the station deck.

Temporary lanes for the various routes have been demarcated at the Grand Parade to indicate where commuters must embark and disembark. These include lanes for routes to Langa, Gugulethu, Samora Machel, Nyanga, Lower Philippi, Hanover Park, Kensington, Mitchell’s Plain, Delft, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Milnerton, Dunoon, Manenberg, Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Bridgetown, Mowbray and Wynberg, as well as bays for those taxis serving Atlantis, Silversands, Sea Point, Hout Bay, and Bellville.

“The station deck facility is used by hundreds of thousands of commuters each year, and the current project is part of the general maintenance programme for public transport facilities,” says Purchase.

“The purpose for the urgent repair and refurbishment is to ensure that the facility is appropriately maintained by fixing the potholes in the existing asphalt surfacing, cleaning and clearing the stormwater system, improving the ablution facilities, the lighting and the wayfinding signage, and painting.”

As a result of the temporary relocation to the Grand Parade, motorists and commuters in and around this area should be mindful of increased traffic congestion.

“The minibus taxis will enter the Grand Parade in Castle Street and there are two exits – one in Castle Street and the other in Darling Street. Other road users must therefore anticipate an increase in the number of minibus taxis on the roads in this area over the next few weeks,” says Purchase in the statement.

Commuters can call the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63 for more information during the maintenance period.

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