The City of Cape Town has given the shareholders running the stalled N2 MyCiTi Express service an ultimatum to get the buses running again by September 28 otherwise it will find another service provider.
"We have sent a letter to the three shareholders – namely CODETA, Route 6 Taxi Association, and the Golden Arrow Bus Service – indicating that the buses must be back on the road by September 28, 2019," said mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase.
The shareholders have to send an internal agreement to the city which will see the service reinstated on, or before this deadline, after the previous contract ended on May 31, without a new one in place.
"Failing to do so, the City will have no choice but to pursue alternatives, which may include:
- a procurement process to secure the services of a vehicle operating company to operate the N2 Express Service; and
- the appointment of a suitable service provider through the appropriate supply chain management processes to operate the service on a temporary basis until such time as the new vehicle operating company has been appointed.
Purchase said the city is committed to concluding a new agreement with the N2 Express Company, but if it fails to meet the deadline, it will pursue alternatives.
A letter to this effect was sent to the N2 Express Company shareholders after three months of negotiations.
"The City must reinstate the N2 Express service as a matter of urgency."
Lawyers for CODETA said in a media statement earlier in July that things are not as straightforward as they seem, and have alleged that the authorities are allowing the Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) to use the N2 Express MtCiTi route without a permit.
It said that these permits are issued specifically to avoid violence and confrontation, yet to its knowledge, the bus company was not being taken to task over this as the case would be with taxi drivers.
"If bus operators [are] allowed to illegally use a route, so can taxi operators. No new application or transfer of application was gazetted for the months of June or July 2019."
In follow-up questions to the city, Purchase said the city is not involved with the operating conditions of GABS and it did not enter into a short-term agreement with GABS for the purposes of providing transport during the suspension of service.
"The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, thus the provincial government, is the contracting authority and holds the agreement with GABS to render the bus service across Cape Town."
No memorandum of understanding had been reached either with other transport companies to ferry passengers along the affected route.
"We have not had any specific operations focusing on vehicles conveying passengers along this route. All public transport vehicles operating across the city are subjected to the ad hoc checks by our traffic officers," said Cape Town Traffic Services spokesperson, Richard Coleman.
A court bid by CODETA to interdict the City of Cape Town from negotiating a new contract for the N2 Express service was dismissed by the Western Cape High Court on the basis of urgency in July.
GABS said it would comment once it had a response to the claims, and this will be added when it is received.
The provincial transport department said it could not comment.
"The City of Cape Town is the sphere of government responsible for the MyCiti contract. I can unfortunately not comment on this matter," said spokesperson Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka.
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