1 year and 1 month. That is the amount of time the City of Cape Town hopes that it requires to extend an Express MyCiTi bus service to the Cape Flats and start operating from December 2013. It is unsure whether this is feasible given the multiple times other deadlines and milestones have been missed. The plans below provide an overview of how they are aiming to achieve this.
The MyCiTi system is the City of Cape Town‘s Intergrated Rapid Transit project intended to provide a scheduled bus services within 500m radius of at least 75% of households and workplaces in the metropolitan region. It consists of 4 phases that will take about 25 years to be fully implemented. The MyCiTi service will not replace Metrorail services, but will aim to connect the unconnected areas of the city and provide the ‘last kilometer’ service between rail (which should be the reliable and safe backbone of the city’s transport in about 10 years’ time) and citizen’s destinations.
Currently, the MyCiTi is in phase 1 which includes the West Coast Region, the central business district, the Atlantic Seaboard and now recently announced this Express service. The Express service is not regarded as part of Phase 2 and will be used only as a temporary transport service to citizens in the Cape Flats (or Metro South East as it’s officially know). It’s main intention is to reduce pressure on Metrorail until rail services have been upgraded and meet an acceptable standard for commuters. Additionally, it will provide the city with an opportunity to test new approaches for building stations, routes, etc. for phase 2 (which is the Metro South East expansion).
The city has already agreed on a few innovations or changes which they will be experimenting on the MyCiTi Express service and which hopefully use in phases 2, 3 and 4. One such innovation is the move to having both trunks and feeder buses with low-floors (unlike the high-floored trunk buses on the West Coast Route). This will allow much greater flexibility between trunk and feeder as well as cost saving with better station designs.
Three locations have already been identified for enclosed trunk stations (similar to the Civic Centre Station in Cape Town CBD) from where a non-stop Express service to the Civic Centre Station will operate. These locations are:
- Mitchell’s Plain CBD (near the existing bus terminus)
- Khayelitsha train station (opposite to Khayelitsha’s first coffee shop), and
- Nolungile (Site C) train station.
Although a BRT service is not really ideal for mass transport over very long distances (Khayelitsha to Cape Town CBD is extremely long in a BRT framework), it should provide users another alternative to the current minibus-taxi, Golden Arrow Bus and Metrorail services. Ideally by that time the city’s Transport Authority has implemented the myconnect card to be useable on all these services, further making public transport convenient for Cape Flats users.
Other than current public transport services being unreliable for these areas, what makes this Express service so important is he fact that the Metro South East houses a very large proportion of Cape Town’s population. In fact, Khayelitsha has population densities that are higher than anywhere else in the city, which supports not only one form of public transport, but supports the introduction of multiple public transport services.
Mitchell’s Plan Bus Terminus: Approximate site of the Mitchells Plain MyCiTi Express stop. View Larger Map
Nolungile Train Station: Site of the Nolungile MyCiTi Express stop. View Larger Map
Khayelitsha Train Station: A view towards the a site of the Khayelitsha MyCiTi Express stop. View Larger Map