Some taxi bosses are upset at being left out in the City’s Bus Rapid Transit system planning and negotiations despite their routes being earmarked as feeder bus routes for the planned BRT roll out along the west coast road to Atlantis.
The taxi bosses say as a result they will lose their only source of income once the busses start operating there toward the end of 2013.
Their alarm was voiced at a BRT public meeting in Atlantis on earlier this month organised by the City of Cape Town.
The Section World Taxi Association Witsand (SWTAW) members said it was the first time they had heard that their routes would be affected by the expansion of the Integrated Rapid Transit system Phase 1A which currently runs to Big Bay and Parklands along the west coast.
Following Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system planning and modelling manager Gershwin Fortune’s presentation, SWTAW chair Thembinkosi Kostile said although Fortune had showed that the BRT would impact on the SWTAW’s routes, it was the first they had heard about it.
“We don’t know anything about BRT in Atlantis. We have two taxi associations in Atlantis,” said a visibly upset Kostile.
In response, city’s director for IRT projects implementation, Dave Hugo, said he acknowledged “that issue” and suggested it be discussed “offline”.
In an interview after the meeting, Kostile said his association was alarmed and shocked at the city’s revelation that their routes will be serviced by feeder buses when the BRT expansion to Atlantis was completed in September 2013.
He said 46 taxis, with 22 owners, were affiliated to the SWTAW.
Most of the taxi owners, he said, were still paying off the new Quantum taxis they had recently purchased.
“We were not informed about their plans and now they are planning to take our jobs by introducing buses on our routes,” he said, “we don’t have information, (the) council doesn’t worry about us.”
SWTAW secretary Neville Bedu said they transported over 10 000 commuters to work in and around Atlantis everyday and the introduction of the MyCiTi (BRT) feeder buses along their routes meant the end of their income.
“We have heard they are taking our routes. It is our bread and butter. We don’t know what is happening,” said Bedu.
Hugo said the city would launch an investigation to find out whether SWTAW was left out in the BRT planning and negotiations process.
“We need to verify that,” he said.
“We intend to check whether they hold valid (taxi operating) permits. We must check their credentials. If they are legitimate we will interact with them.”
The My CiTi buses have been hailed as a success in Table View, Parklands area and the City’s Central Business District as well as the Airport service, where the city has incorporated five taxi associations to drive the busses through the Kidrogen company formed by the taxi associations.
Kidrogen operates three feeder routes in Parklands and surrounding suburbs and manages six bus stations on the R27 trunk route to the city. — Peter Luhanga