The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) say they will block the MyCiTi route between Milnerton and Blaauwberg Road, on Monday July 25 unless the City’s mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, addresses the transport concerns of the “black communities on the West Coast”.
Regional secretary for the Western Cape, Tony Ehrenreich, released a statement on Thursday July 14, announcing Cosatu’s decision, and stating that the condition of the MyCiTi service in Atlantis and Mamre are poor and unlike the “grand service” received in predominantly white areas such as Milnerton.
“The bad service is illustrated by the service to Atlantis and Mamre which has been brought to the City’s attention, as the public transport from this area is worse than it was before,” said Mr Ehrenreich who said Mr Herron had done nothing to fix the problems.
Mr Ehrenreich listed unsafe conditions on the MyCiTi service in Atlantis as well as extended trip times for passengers, which he said were longer than on the previous Sibanye bus system, as some of the reasons for Cosatu planning to block the Milnerton MyCiTi service.
“There are a variety of configurations possible to improve the conditions for the commuters but the City refuses to consider these,” said Mr Ehrenreich.
Although the City’s media department was unable to respond to Mr Ehrenreich’s accusations before the Tabletalk went to publication, Mr Herron had previously released a statement responding to similar threats by Cosatu to protest against public transport services in April this year.
Mr Herron said in a statement on July 12, that he had received a memorandum from Cosatu protesting against the state of public transport, and said that given the number of times “August 3rd”, the municipal election date, was mentioned, it was clear that the protest was an electioneering stunt for the ANC.
“This latest stunt from Cosatu to target the City through their protest action is ironic, if not dishonest and schizophrenic.
“For the past two years we have been working to expand the MyCiTi network by connecting Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain with Claremont and Wynberg.
“The roll-out is being delayed by Cosatu’s alliance partner, the ANC, who have tried every trick in the book to prevent us from delivering this service. Furthermore, if Cosatu want to see better transport services they should protest at the doors of the National Minister of Transport,” said Mr Herron.
Tabletalk approached MyCiTi commuters travelling on the route from Atlantis to Table View and Cape Town, to see how they felt about Cosatu’s sentiments.
Atlantis resident Mariana Titus said she had been using the MyCiTi service for two years and didn’t think that the MyCiTi service in Atlantis was better than the service received in Milnerton.
“There are more buses in Atlantis than in Milnerton. There is no difference; they (Cosatu) are definitely doing it to make the City look bad. The route is very convenient for me to use, the bus stops are very dangerous in the mornings though for people who take the bus at 4am,” said Ms Titus.
Atlantis resident Robin Temmers agreed with Ms Titus, saying that the MyCiTi route is more dangerous in Atlantis, but said that the danger was simply due to the area being more dangerous than others.
“As far as I’m concerned there is no difference in the MyCiTi service in Atlantis and the service in Milnerton. Taking a bus in Atlantis is more dangerous because it is a known fact that Atlantis is more dangerous than Milnerton.”
“The previous Sibanye bus service was terrible. I am not praising the MyCiTi as the price increase has been upsetting me. I thought it would be like transport services overseas where the richer areas would pay more to compensate for the poorer areas that can’t afford an increase,” said Mr Temmers.
MyCiTi commuter, John Lewis agreed with the Cosatu statement and said buses are more frequently available in Milnerton than in Atlantis and said it takes longer to get to work with the MyCiTi bus.
“We need a bus that goes non- stop to town because I have to take the bus at 6.30am to get to work at 9am.
“The Sibanye buses took even longer to get us to work. Buses are definitely more frequent in Minerton then in Atlantis,” said Mr Lewis.