Public transport meltdown in Cape Town
19 July 2021
This morning Cape Town commuters woke to the news that minibus taxis would not operate because a weekend meeting between rival taxi organisations Codeta and Cata failed to resolve their differences.
The failures of the taxi associations are compounded by a failure of leadership in Cape Town and the Western Cape province.
With a train service in disrepair, MyCiti bus routes being cancelled and strife in the taxi industry, hard-pressed commuters are running out of options.
Commuters queue up from 4am each weekday to try to get to work in one piece and on time.
With Metrorail largely inoperable and completely unpredictable it is no longer the choice mode for those who need to make sure they get to work on time.
The MyCiti bus service to Khayelitsha and Mitchell's Plain was suspended because the City of Cape Town was unable to settle its differences with the taxi industry.
I understand that the MyCiTi Bus service to Dunoon has also been cancelled.
This leaves commuters with taxis and Golden Arrow buses - already operating at capacity in the peak – as their last remaining options.
The City’s former Mayco Member for Transport, Felicity Putchase, must take some of the blame for making zero progress during her three year tenure - besides developing a hostile relationship with the taxi industry.
Since her departure, Transport in the City has been without a Mayco Member for two months and is being run by the Mayor.
In the Provincial Cabinet MEC Daylin Mitchell is in over his head.
I welcome young people being appointed to executive positions in government but I think it’s important for government leaders to have some experience or skills outside of politics.
Unfortunately Mitchell doesn’t have the experience to be in such a complex role.
The meeting over the weekend collapsed without resolution because of a failure of government leadership, including the national minister, and an inability to put the commuter first.
I have convened, or participated in, many summits, dialogues, meetings with taxi leadership. The meetings have been volatile and difficult at times but through perseverance and leadership, all round, we’ve always found a workable solution.
In the end the commuter is failed and businesses suffer as their employees can’t get to work.
It’s time for all governments to take transport more seriously. It is the defining function of a city. It cannot be a function with inadequate leadership.
Issued by Brett Herron, Secretary General, GOOD, 19 July 2021