A summit to address commuter concerns over the lack of adequate public transport from Khayelitsha will be held in February. This is according to the newly appointed leader of the transport task team in Khayelitsha, Michael Benu.
He says planning for the summit was underway. He said they hoped it would be a platform for Cape Flats residents to voice their concerns with public transport challenges.
Benu, a former chairperson of the Khayelitsha Development Forum, said the task team was established in response to ongoing problems on Metrorail’s central line which services several communities including Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Bonteheuwel and Langa. The central line has not been operating for several weeks.
“The community of Khayelitsha felt that it is important that we sit down and identify all these challenges that are faced by commuters. Metrorail was only one part of the problem,” he said.
“We have found that commuter safety is also not up to standard. We looked at the challenges between MyCiTi bus and the taxi industry. MyCiTi is no longer functioning now in Khayelitsha,” he said.
Benu said that the task team plans to reach out to commuters from Nyanga, Gugulethu, Langa, Bonteheuwel, Netreg, Mitchell’s Plain and other areas, who have also been affected by the poor services provided by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), MyCiTi and the taxi industry.
The MyCiTi N2 Express service, which serviced areas like Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, has temporarily been suspended since 31 May following disagreements between the shareholders of the N2 Express company, Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA), Route 6 Taxi Association, and the Golden Arrow Bus Service.
Benu added that commuters also needed to take responsibility and play a bigger role in protecting public transport. “Trains are a cheap mode of transportation from Khayelitsha to Cape Town. Train users need to be educated and understand their role as well as the role of Metrorail. We cannot let the burning of trains continue,” he said.
Benu said they were calling on everybody, including organisations like #UniteBehind to participate in their event next year. “This situation is killing the poor’s pockets. People are spending too much money on the road. While the trains were operating, people were saving a bit. So every structure that is working to better the issue of transport, is very much welcome on the task team,” he said.