Cape Town has joined a growing international trend by adding pedicabs – three-wheeled cycles that carry passengers – to its streets, providing employment prospects and a green-friendly transport option for locals and tourists.
Ten of the brightly coloured yellow and blue pedicabs have been pedalled through city streets since the beginning of February in a demonstration project run by Cyclecabs (Pty) Ltd, which is dedicated to employment generation and promotion of entrepreneurs in the Cape Town area.
The project, which has given work to ten unemployed people, is supported by St Patrick’s Trust (SPT) of Eurocape Holdings, the local Section 21 NGO Men on the Side of the Road Project (MSR) and the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN).
Bertrand Phillips, a director BEN, said riders received two to three months of training.
“They’re very fit. They love it,” he said.
Once on the streets riders covered 15 to 20 kilometres in a six-hour shift. Riders earned between R300 to R500 a week off a zero income base, he said. Charges were R50 per hour or between R20 to R50 for trips within designated zones.
Apart from creating jobs, the project also had a strong environmental slant.
If 15 to 20 kilometres per day was multiplied by 220 working days a year this amounted to about six tonnes of carbon saved by each rider, he said. This had a potential monetary value in terms of the carbon savings being sold on the offset market, but also an environmental benefit.
Rider Siyabulela Makhalima (32) from Khayelitsha, said: “You need to be really fit on this job because it’s very physical.”
He said he had started riding in March.
“There is no danger involved because the bikes are safe. They have brakes and lights and they ride slowly on the road,” said Makhalima.
Another rider, Thobile Mangcotywa (30) also from Khayelitsha, said: “With the money I make here I support my family back home and I’m taking my brother though school because he needs the education.”
He said he believed when the public became familiar with the service the riders would make more money.
Cyclecabs operations manager Hilaire Akollo said the cabs, which can be caught from outside the Company Gardens, the Cape Town International Convention Centre and at the offices of Cape Town Tourism, operated like taxis, taking people to locations around the city.
However, they could also be hired for leisure tours.
Cylclecabs said in a press statement that the cabs, which have grown in popularity in many European and North American cities, were a demonstration of a low cost and environmentally friendly passenger transport service that would enhance the 2010 World Cup for visitors and locals, while showcasing sustainable passenger transport. — West Cape News