Derailed MyCiTi N2 Express may be back on the road soon
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Cape Town - There are glimmers of hope that the derailed MyCiTi N2 Express route might be back on the road soon, after new Mayco member for transport Roberto Quintas said it would be his priority.
The service has been out of operation since a dispute arose among the route’s taxi industry shareholders when their contracts ended in the first half of 2019.
Negotiations collapsed between the City and members of the N2 Express Joint Venture operating company. The company was made up of Route Six Taxi Association, Golden Arrow Bus Service (Gabs) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta).
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said the halting of the service has affected communities “immensely”.
Quintas said reinstating the N2 Express route was a priority, as the service was part of the City’s original commitment to grow the MyCiTi infrastructure in Cape Town and extend the bus service network to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.
Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said they were not allowed to provide any information about the N2 Express issue. However, he said they were busy with negotiations.
When the Cape Argus asked Gabs spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer about the issue, she said there were no updates from their side, and directed queries to Quintas.
Quintas said the City had made good progress with stakeholder engagements during the past month.
He said although the parties have agreed to the conditions stipulated by the City, an agreement between the operators still has to be reached. This included how they would proceed in light of the outstanding High Court matter.
“The City is now in constant communication with the parties in order for them to provide us with an indication of how they will be proceeding before we are able to enter into a contract with the provider to reinstate the service,” said Quintas.
He said a response from them was imminent. However, because of the court case, they were unable to provide a firm date for when the service would be operational again.
“We will, however, endeavour to continue engaging with the parties until a consensus can be reached.”
Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said negotiating the implementation of the N2 Express took about two years of hard work. The service had been groundbreaking when it was introduced. It was intended to empower taxi operators to become bus service operators.
Herron said there was no real appetite for the service, and it was shut down a year later in June 2019.
“It was a shocking betrayal of hundreds of thousands of commuters by the City, because they shut the service down when the Metrorail service had not been operating fully, or at all, for a few months already.
“To get the service and future MyCiTi services on track, the City needs to work on its relationships with the taxi industry and to honour the intention of the investment in their training at the University of Cape Town to become bus-operating companies too,” said Herron.
The ANC’s provincial spokesperson on transport, Lulama Mvimbi, said the Western Cape government has been offering advice on how the national government ought to address pressing challenges with Metrorail and the taxi industry, but it has failed dismally to address challenges with the MyCiTi and GoGeorge bus services.