MyCiti Bus starts roll-out onto the Atlantic Seaboard this weekend!


My CiTi Bus imagesThe MyCiTi Bus route in Sea Point (connecting commuters to Fresnaye, the Civic Centre and the V&A Waterfront) will begin operating this weekend (via Beach Road and High Level Road), on 2 November.  The long-awaited roll-out of the service to Camps Bay is on 30 November, about 18 months after its promised start date!  By this weekend 83 MyCiTi Buses will be operating in Cape Town, increasing to 107 buses by the end of November.

News24 reports that the MyCiTi bus service will begin operating in Vredehoek, Oranjezicht,  Sea Point, Melkbosstrand, and Duynefontein this coming Saturday.  On 30 November the route from the new V&A Waterfront Silo (the previous Clocktower area) to the Civic Centre and Camps Bay via Kloofnek Road will commence.  The planned introduction of the N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, which was scheduled to be launched in December, appears to be delayed, according to the Cape Times.   The Atlantis, Dunoon, and Hout Bay routes will be launched early in 2014.

The best news about the new services operating is that the existing minibus taxis and other bus services travelling on the new routes will be phased out as commuters make use of the new MyCiTi Bus services.  One hopes that sedan taxis will reduce their presence in an area such as Camps Bay, where they take up a large part of available parking, at night in particular, to the detriment of restaurant patrons.  Sedan taxis are also displaying shocking driving habits, often worse than their minus taxi ‘colleagues’, in doing U-turns on Victoria Road without care for other motorists, or driving along Victoria Road at 20km/hr, so as to spot potential customers.   As the minibus taxis are using the MyCiTi Bus stops as their own currently, one wonders where the new buses will stop to drop off and pick up customers.

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater Brett Herron said about the new routes being added: ‘The new routes will take us a step closer to realising our vision of truly integrated transport in Cape Town. We know an integrated transport system is an important step towards more integrated communities‘. Councillor Herron said the MyCiti Bus transport is ‘safe, reliable and efficient’.

Local residents should be receiving pamphlets to explain the MyCiTi Bus service to them.  ‘My Connect’ MyCiTi Bus cards can be bought at the new stations (Queen’s Beach, Omuramba, Royal Ascot, Porterfield, Sandown, and Melkbosstrand).   The City of Cape Town is to decide today whether the R25 MyConnect card cost will be waived, to allow all Capetonians, especially the poor, to have access to the MyCiTi Bus service.

Not owning a MyConnect card, and having tried the MyCiTi Bus between the Civic Centre and V&A Waterfront stations soon after the service was launched, I looked at the terms and conditions and rules on the website, consisting of 27 pages!  The rules are clear: no smoking, no drinking of any liquids, and no taking of drugs on board the bus.  No chewing of gum is allowed.  Feet may not be placed on seats.  Commuters must be in a ‘fit state’ to travel.  The City pledges to offer a bus service which is clean, comfortable, safe, frequent, punctual, and affordable, with convenient operating hours.  They promise ‘honest, polite, helpful, and professional staff‘.   The biggest problem is that the City does not take responsibility for any injury of commuters at a station or on a bus, which is contrary to the Consumer Protection Act.  On the website one is confused about the charges for the journey one takes, based on peak or non-peak travelling times and days.

ABSA Bank, as supplier of the MyConnect cards, has a two page intensively legal document that would confuse all passengers other than lawyers, stating that one does not earn interest on a positive balance on the card, it can be used to make ‘contactless and contact payments‘ (without explaining what these terms mean), one needs a PIN number to add more money to the card, one may only add money to the card via internet transfer or cash, and one may not give one’s card to someone else to use.  There are limits to the card, for ‘card loading‘  in general and for ‘monthly card loading‘, but these limits are not explained nor defined.   The card can expire, but this is not explained.

The start of the MyCiTi Bus service on the Atlantic Seaboard is eagerly awaited, but appears a complicated process to understand and use.  One wonders how one gets to buy one’s card at the new Sea Point station, as there is little parking nearby, having been taken for the building of the station!  It is surprising that the City of Cape Town has not spent more time and money in educating residents of this area.  Instead of teaching Capetonians how to cross a road, which Councillor Herron is doing during Transport Month via radio ads currently, he may have spent ratepayers’ monies more efficiently by communicating with his new MyCiTi Bus commuters!

There is no doubt that tourists will love the MyCiTi Bus service, expecting a world-class city such as Cape Town to offer a safe, efficient, and well-connected bus service, as they would use in all major cities in the world!

POSTSCRIPT 31/10:  With the roll-out of the MyCiTi Bus service on SaturdayMyCiTi Bus Sea Point blacked out Whale Cottage Portfolio, it was bizarre today to see the new MyCiTi Bus stop names on Ocean View Drive, with names such as ‘CPUT’, ‘Convention Centre‘, and ‘Roodebloem Road‘!  The Councillor is not good at replying to Tweets, for which he received a Sour Service Award two weeks ago, but he did reply as follows: ‘@WhaleCottage @MyCiTiBus @bevschafer temp bus stops relocated from Salt River route. Names will be corrected‘.  The Councillor was slow to answer our question as to why the correct names were not erected in the first place, as the temporary signage will cause mayhem in Sea Point from Saturday: ‘The poles are temporary, relocated from Salt River, & the names will change in time‘, he Tweeted.

Clearly irritated, and annoyed with some Twitter banter about the signage, the Councillor did not reply to a specific question as to whether the signage for upper Sea Point was not yet ready (even though the introduction of the route is more than a year late)!  Once the signage error was revealed on Twitter, the Councillor quickly had the incorrect signs on Ocean View Drive covered up!  It would appear as if the Councillor may have thought that the residents of Fresnaye and Sea Point would not see the bus stop names, nor recognise that they were not correct!

POSTSCRIPT 1/11:  The City of Cape Town’s weekly newsletter, received at 15h17 this afternoon, announces that free MyConnect cards are available for the new users of the routes opening tomorrow, a saving of R25.  The catch is that the new cards have to be bought at the Civic Centre, for which the parking in the vicinity probably would cost close to the saving.  One can buy the card there until 8 November.  Even better, the Melkbosstrand commuters can get their free cards from their station in the suburb, but the catch is that this offer was only available for today, with a warning of less than two hours after receiving the newsletter.  However, Sea Point residents were not offered such a free card facility at their Sea Point station!

MyCiTi Bus Queens Beach station Whale Cottage PortfolioPOSTSCRIPT 4/11:  Councillor Brett Herron refuses to answer on Twitter why the free MyConnect card is not available from the Sea Point Queens Beach station!  A visit to the Sea Point station found a handful of commuters who all wanted to buy their cards and mileage, and none had any information, each one asking all their questions.  The staff hand out the Atlantic Sun wrap around from last week, but do not offer it proactively!  A helpful commuter advised one to buy the MyCiTi Mover package, for which one has to pay the R25 card fee, and a minimum of R80 mileage!  The only problem is that the credit card machine does not yet work at the station, ironic as the cards have the MasterCard logo on them!  The card offers 20% discounts on one’s travel.  The downside of this package is that one can only top it up at the Sea Point station.  CashierMyCiTi Bus Ikeraam Hendricks Sea Point Whale Cottage Portfolio Ikeraam Hendricks was extremely patient in answering all the questions fired at him, and allowed me to go inside the station, to check out the timetable. Standard MyConnect cards also cost R25, and one can load the cards at Cell Shack, Sunset Pharmacy, Total, and 7-Eleven in Sea Point; J&M and Aromatic Apothecary in the V&A Waterfront; and Ashanti, Café Macorio, and Shell Select Vic Proctor Motors in Green Point.  No ID is required to purchase one’s card.

MyCiTi Bus Timetable Sea Point Whale Cottage PortfolioSea Point has two routes: Bus 104 goes from Sea Point via Mouille Point to the V&A Waterfront, stopping at a number of stops there, and then goes on to the Civic Centre.  Bus 105 travels from Sea Point via Fresnaye to the Civic Centre. Both services have buses arriving every 20 minutes on weekdays, and every 30 minutes on weekends.  The service starts at 6h55 for Route 104, and from 5h53 for Route 105.  Both routes end their service at about 22h00.

Annoying is to see that the Camps Bay route (opening on 30 November) to the V&A Waterfront will travel via the Civic Centre and then will stop at the V&A Waterfront Silo, which is beyond the Clocktower, nowhere near the shopping mall, only suitable to commuters wishing to take the Robben Island ferry, or working in this precinct of the V&A Waterfront!

The introduction of the MyCiTi Bus service has led to the withdrawal of the Golden Arrow bus service from Sea Point to the city centre, as well as 133 minibus taxis operating on Beach Road and High Level Road in Sea Point, but unfortunately they are still operating on Regent Road!

POSTSCRIPT 23/1:  The MyCiTi Bus route expands to include Hout Bay (with Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu) from 15 February, connecting Hout Bay with Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point, and Green Point, reports The New Age. The City of Cape Town is issuing free commuter cards to make the use of the bus service more affordable, Councillor Brett Herron admitting that the bus service card is a ‘barrier to access’.  The biggest problem will be the slow travelling time for those Hout Bay commuters who need to be at work in Camps Bay and elsewhere on the Atlantic Seaboard, getting there far faster by taxi! We have noted close to empty buses in Camps Bay and on Kloof Road!

MyCiTi Bus,  Twitter: @MyCiTiBus

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  Twitter:@WhaleCottage

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2 replies on “MyCiti Bus starts roll-out onto the Atlantic Seaboard this weekend!”

  1. It might not be a perfect system, but at least it means we can stop using metered taxis to get from A to B when we’ve had a few drinks. The My Citi buses, along with the Tuk Tuks will make life a lot easier for Capetonians who like to enjoy the city.

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