TRANSPORT: MyCiTi Starts Off In Traffic Jam
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE City’s request in February for an amendment to the IRT business plan to allow for a third interim operator met with objections, threats of legal action, and accusations that bus company, Golden Arrow, was holding the City to ransom.
Not so, says Golden Arrow general manager, Francois Meyer. “Golden Arrow, as one of the affected parties, has been part of the negotiation process with the City for the past two years and has, at all times, worked with the City despite concerns about the business model. This was illustrated during the World Cup tournament when Golden Arrow operated more buses for the event than the City’s newly formed Transpeninsula operating company.”
“Golden Arrow broadly approved the City’s original 12-year concept plan for IRT operations, of which the detail still needs to be negotiated. Within this plan, Golden Arrow will form a new operating company with various taxi operators.”
“It is the ‘interim plan’, to be implemented as a prelude to the 12-year plan, that includes direct infringements of Golden Arrow’s rights in terms of our current contract with the Department of Transport. The interim plan was devised as a result of political pressure to implement some operations on the new IRT infrastructure that was standing idle. Certain aspects of the interim plan may infringe on our rights. This could put Golden Arrow and other operators at risk and could lead to litigation. The third company concept was proposed as a solution to the problems around operating licences and infringement on our routes during the interim phase.
“Golden Arrow has no objection to forming a company with other role players, including taxi operators, and the third company would operate on a similar basis as the other companies, using MyCiTi buses. Should the City need more vehicles for this phase, we will be able to assist with our new low floor, air-conditioned vehicles.”
Cape Town mayor, Dan Plato, is confident that negotiations will lead to a successful outcome. “This is where the complexities lie,” he explained, “as this part of the process deals with the large, complex existing public transport industry. Managing this process carefully might take somewhat longer in the short term, but will result in a better longer term outcome.”
“Negotiation with the existing public transport industry is governed by law. In compliance with these provisions the City is engaging with all directly affected public transport operators whose services the City proposes to replace in Phase 1A of MyCiTi, and whose legal rights are affected. In return for participation, minibus-taxi operators must agree to surrender their operating licence and operating vehicle in return for compensation or participation as shareholders in the vehicle operating companies, or a combination of both. Scheduled bus companies are being offered participation in the new business in proportion to their current market share. Eight taxi associations and two scheduled bus companies are considered directly affected by Phase 1A of the project.”
“Two highly skilled facilitators are working on the negotiations between the City, the mini-bus taxi associations and bus-operating companies. They were chosen in consultation with these organisations, and there has been substantial progress. Company B, which consists of the taxi associations in the Blaauwberg/Du Noon/Atlantis corridor, has just been formed, and has indicated it is ready to enter into an agreement with the City,” he later said.
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