Plan for far south bus service on the cards

The railway line crossing between the entrance to the beach in Fish Hoek.

Plans by the City of Cape Town to improve train services are on track after a sitting of its full council agreed to the proposal to take over railway services.

Although the processing of the business plan can take up to three years, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for far south residents.

The City is currently investigating the viability of a midi-bus transport service to operate between the far south areas and the Cape Town CBD via Ou Kaapse Weg and or Champan’s Peak Drive.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development said the investigations were still at a very early stage and engagement with other important role-players in the public transport industry would have to take place first before proposals can be presented.

In the meantime, there was one scheduled route operated by the Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) between Cape Town and Ocean View which departs at 5.45am from Ocean View and returns at 5.20pm from the Cape Town Golden Acre.

Following the go-ahead by council to propose taking over train services, the next step is now for the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) to approach the National Government for the necessary approvals and funding for taking over the service (“City proposes to take over railway service”, Echo, October 19).

Sun Valley resident Mark Owen has been using the train system since 2015 to get to work and back but now only uses the service for his homeward journey due to poor service.

He said the City had acknowledged that
public transportation within the Western Cape was failing and had reached a critical mass in terms of the impact it had on the economy and the effect it had on those who relied on the service.

He said what he found interesting was that the City only chose to get involved once a complete failure of the system had taken place, notwithstanding that this collapse was foreseeable at least two years ago.

For him, the City’s takeover of the railway system presented no practical solution for far south residents as
there were almost no other viable or regular options within the Fish Hoek area that would allow alternatives to using the trains.

Hefeltthatfarsouth residentshadbeenleftto their own devices and would be forced to suffer through the inefficiency of the service until there is an improvement.
“I don’t see any viable alternative to Metrorail, other than private transportation, which is simply not an option for many,” he said.

MrHerronsaidforthe City to restore passenger rail
it would have to take over all of the assets required to provide the service such as the stations and the land the assets are located on, to the tracks, signalling system, and the existing and new rolling stock to be allocated to Cape Town through the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) recapitalisation programme.

Furthermore, to improve and enforce service standards relating to punctuality,
safety and security, maintenance, and customer service, meaning the City must be granted the authority for drawing up and awarding the operating contracts to those rail operators who will be running the six existing commuter lines, and all future lines.

Metrorailspokeswoman, Riana Scott said the process was currently enacted in the National Land Transport Act and Metrorail would continue toengagewiththeCityin
compliance with the memorandum of action signed between the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and the City.