City of Cape Town's business plan to take over rail service approved
A business plan has been approved to incrementally take over the management of the failing rail network in Cape Town, Mayor Dan Plato said.
Speaking at the Integrated Urban Transformations South-South Knowledge Exchange, hosted by the City of Cape Town this week, Plato said that over the last few years, Cape Town’s public transport challenges have increased as a result of the failing national rail system and other contributing factors.
“A business plan has been approved to incrementally take over the management of the rail network in Cape Town. However, I must emphasise that this long-term process is in its very early stages,” he said, despite such plans having previously been slammed by the national government who oversees the rail network.
According to the mayor, Cape Town’s road network comprises over 10 600 kilometres. Another way the City is proactively aiming to address congestion is to, over the next three financial years, spend nearly R3 billion rand on extending the MyCiTi bus service, as part of an integrated service. Money has also been allocated for building new public transport interchanges (PTIs) and to refurbish existing interchanges for commuters and the minibus taxi operators, according to Plato.
“An integrated, well-functioning, safe and efficient public transport system is one of the key solutions that would alleviate this challenge and improve the functioning of the City as a whole, as well as contribute to improving the quality of life for many citizens,” he said, adding that the City was building new roads and prioritising public transport, among other interventions to beat the traffic.
“We have set aside a combined total of nearly R350 million for the maintenance and reconstruction of the city’s roads, as well as new roads and links to alleviate congestion in the worst affected areas,” said Plato.
In March, the City announced that it intended to appoint a multi-disciplinary team of rail professionals to assist the transport directorate with the high-level business plans for taking over passenger rail services in Cape Town.
The taking over the rail function from the national government was slammed by former Transport Minister Blade Nzimande labelling the City’s efforts as “dishonest and opportunistic” and absolute political manoeuvring that sought to undermine the enormous efforts by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) government to change the rail landscape of South Africa.