MyCiTi pricing for pupils

Cecil Mubvumbi, Parklands

The MyCiTi bus service is a reliable and dignified mode of public transport.

I have had the pleasure of using the service since inception in Cape Town, and all I have is praise for the staff, service and travel experience.

I think with the rapid growth, MyCiTi may have overlooked one very important special group: uniformed school children.

I grew up and started school in Harare in the 80s, and, up until I completed my A-levels, United Buses had a preferential fare for school children in uniform. I remember the fare was so little – at most a mere token, and, occasionally, we walked from school just for fun and exercise.

I do not think a “one-fare-for-all” policy for MyCiTi is in line with social goals and the responsibilities of government or quasi government organisations.

It’s only fair that uniformed school kids get a special card or package allowing, say, one discounted round trip on week days, valid up to a certain time in the evening, that doesn’t work on weekends, public and school holidays, to mention but a few benefits.

This would mean pupils without transport could get to school fresh and on time and could return home safely.

Ask any teacher how disruptive late-comers can be to a lesson. My heart bleeds whenever I see school kids walking in the blistering heat, rain, wind and or cold to schools on or near MyCiTi routes and stops.I’m sure this is just an oversight on MyCiTi’s part and will be remedied for the sake of our pupils and future leaders now that the service is aware of the situation.

If education is a fundamental right, we should all play our part to remove anything that gets in its way.

Brett Herron, Mayoral committee member for transport, responds:

We are continually looking at ways to improve the MyCiTi service and make it more accessible.

One of our objectives is to reduce the cost of transport and to enhance access and mobility across the city.

At the same time, we need to ensure that the service is viable and sustainable since it is already heavily subsidised and the fare revenue does not yet cover the direct operating costs.

Nevertheless, we are currently investigating the mechanisms for introducing fare concessions into the service. As soon as we have completed our investigations and the feasibility studies, we will make announcements.

Our approach has been to discount fares – off-peak – for all users rather than roll out reduced fares for some categories of users, eg. school pupils or senior citizens. This is because it is difficult, if not impossible, to manage fare evasion with the anonymous myconnect card ticketing system we use.

Any additional fare concessions we may introduce will, in all likelihood, follow this approach, so that we do not also need to ramp up fare evasion operations and enforcement. MyCiTi commuters can save up to 30 percent by loading Mover points – as opposed to Standard (cash) – on their myconnect cards. There are no charges for loading Mover points on your myconnect card, and Mover fares are up to 30 percent cheaper than Standard fares, depending on the time you start your journey. Fares are higher for those starting their journey in the peak period (that is from 6.45am to 8am and from 4.15pm to 5.30pm) on weekdays. However, those who are able to travel outside of the peak period can save a lot of money.