“We acknowledge commuters have the right to choose the mode of transport they wish to use. So we have signed and agreed for the MyCiTI buses to come back.”
These are words of Andile Khanyi, spokesperson for the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta). He was commenting after the City of Cape Town signed an operating contract with the N2 Company, equally owned by Lisekhonikamva (Codeta) from Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain Rapid Transit (Route Six from Mitchell’s Plain), and Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs).
The signing follows the killing of prominent Codeta leader, Mzoxolo Cecil Dibela, near Monwabisi Beach on Monday 17 January (“Dibela’s killing a ‘major blow’”, City Vision 20 January”).
Despite the murder, the City has hailed the signing of the deal as “a major achievement”. The signing paves way for the return of the N2 Express buses to Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain next month.
At least 6 000 commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain are expected to benefit from the service.
The MyCiTi service was halted in 2019 following disagreements among the various stakeholders.
Khanyi told City Vision they were happy with the deal and also did not want to see commuters “suffer”.
“After the discussions we have had with the stakeholders, and they also saw our grievances we are satisfied to sign,” he said. “We believe they are fixing the challenges we encountered, and we hope going forward all things will be smooth sailing.”
Geordin Hill-Lewis, Cape Town Mayor, described the signing of the contract as a critical milestone. “This is very important progress, and great for the city,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the N2 Express service up and running as soon as possible. Capetonians urgently need safe, affordable and reliable public transport.”
Hill-Lewis said with the return of the N2 Express service thousands of commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain will be able to board the blue MyCiTi buses to the Cape Town CBD.
“I want to thank the N2 Company, our partners who will be operating the service,” he said. “Thank you for your commitment to return the service to commuters from the metro-south east. I also want to commend the City officials for their dedication and hard work leading up to the signing of the contract.”
On Wednesday 15 December, at its last meeting for the year, the City Council unanimously approved the Transport Directorate’s request to grant the N2 Company the right to use and manage the 34 City-owned buses to provide the N2 Express service.
“Now that we have signed the operating contract with the N2 Company the fleet of 34 buses – a combination of 12-metre low-floor buses and 18-metre low-floor buses – will be serviced and prepared for operations, and bus drivers recruited and trained,” said Rob Quintas, Mayco Member for Transport.
He said the Transport Directorate, meanwhile, is assessing all of the bus shelters along the four routes in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha for urgent maintenance and repairs.
“Sadly, many of the shelters have been vandalised or stripped by thieves during the time that the service was suspended,” Quintas assured. “Given the extent of the vandalism most of the shelters will still be in a state of disrepair by the time the N2 Express operates, but I can assure commuters that we are working around the clock to get this sorted.
“I will keep commuters informed of our progress and make it public once we know the exact date on which the N2 Express service will start operating,” said Quintas.