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MyCiTi: Bus shelters in Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha being assessed amid planned comeback for N2 Express

The MyCiTi N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha came to a grinding halt after a dispute between the City and N2 Express Joint Venture. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

The MyCiTi N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha came to a grinding halt after a dispute between the City and N2 Express Joint Venture. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 20, 2021

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Cape Town - The City has once again announced it is about to enter into a new operating contract with the N2 Company equally owned by Lisekhonikamva, Mitchells Plain Rapid Transit and Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs), in a bid to revive the MyCiTi N2 Express Service, hopefully by January.

Urban Mobility Mayco member Rob Quintas said at its last meeting for the year that the City’s Council unanimously approved the directorate’s request to grant the N2 Company the right to use and manage the 34 City-owned buses to provide the N2 Express Service.

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The service, which was operated by the derailed N2 Express Joint Venture (JV) vehicle operating company, has been out of operation since a dispute arose among the route’s taxi industry shareholders when their contracts ended in the first half of 2019.

Negotiations collapsed between the City and members of the N2 Express JV operating company. The company was made up of Route Six Taxi Association, Gabs and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta).

Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said Lisekhonikamva was a company formed by the same companies that operated the N2 Express JV.

He said their discussions were at on advanced stage with the City, and were about to start a new contract.

However, he said they had not yet signed the contract, “but very soon we will sign it”.

Quintas once the contract has been signed by all parties, the fleet of 34 buses – a combination of 12-metre low-floor buses and 18-metre low-floor buses – would be serviced and prepared for operations, and drivers recruited and trained.

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“In the meantime, the Urban Mobility Directorate is assessing all of the bus shelters along the four routes in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha for urgent maintenance and repairs.”

Quintas said many of the shelters had been vandalised or stripped by thieves when the service was suspended, “however, we’re working around the clock to get those repaired”.

“The signing of the operating contract, and the progress with the recruitment of bus drivers and servicing of the fleet will determine the date when the N2 Express Service commences.”

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Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said the MyCiTi N2 Express Service collapsed because the City’s leadership and management acted in bad faith in their engagements with the shareholders in the joint venture that operated the service from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

ANC caucus leader Xolani Sotashe cast doubts on the service’s speedy return to the road due to budgetary concerns and delays. He said the directorate was underspending by R69 million and had got a net negative variance, which is an accumulation of slower than anticipated expenditure on a number of projects, the most significant of which was the integrated rapid transit (IRT) Phase 2.

“That thing will not be delivered next year, he is talking nonsense. By their own admission, construction has been delayed on the IRT phase 2A, which is depot building work in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha. This is due to cancellation of the replacement professional services tender,” he said.

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Once operational, the N2 Express Service will again operate along four MyCiTi routes in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha: D01 between Khayelitsha East and the Civic Centre, D02 between Khayelitsha West and the Civic Centre, D03 between Mitchells Plain East and the Civic Centre and D04 between Kapteinsklip, the Mitchells Plain Centre and the Civic Centre.

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Cape Argus

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