As of this month, the City of Cape Town is implementing a new vehicle access control system at the Cape Town Station Deck to combat congestion caused by minibus taxis serving the rank.
Minibus taxi access will be monitored along the access road into the staging area on the station deck, according to Felicity Purchase, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport.
Taxis will feed into the vehicle loading area and out to their respective destinations in a restricted flow. The access control system is expected to make taxi operators more disciplined in operating between the remote holding to the dedicated area at the entrance and exit to the station deck, Ms Purchase said.
Taxi operator George Mtumsu said congestion at the station deck caused him more hassle every day.
“We struggle to get in because of the pile-up.”
Alfonso de War, another taxi operator, said the current system made congestion worse.
“Everything up here on this top deck is bad. The whole system is not operating as I suppose it was supposed to work.”
He said taxi operators could spend hours waiting to enter and exit the station deck. “It takes us two hours to come here sometimes, three hours to get out.”
Ms Purchase said the updated system was an interim solution as part of a three-step plan to resolve current traffic issues.
Ms Purchase said the City was also revisiting the configuration of the station deck entrance and exit.
“We are also investigating the most appropriate remote holding area/s for the minibus-taxi vehicles serving the Cape Town Station Deck Minibus-Taxi Rank.”
These steps are expected to restrict the flow of taxis and limit congestion, Ms Purchase said.
“The City is optimistic that once these three key operational items are combined, taking into account that these are three separate ‘projects’, at different stages of completion – all teething problems would have been resolved.”
The City will also begin issuing rank tokens to qualifying taxi operators to provide services at the Cape Town Station Deck.
The Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity will conduct an inquiry this month to determine which minibus taxi associations qualify for a token to load at the station deck.
The inquiry will include an assessment of operating licences as well as hearings to discuss qualifications. Earlier this year, the station deck was refurbished to address sanitation and infrastructure issues.
The R2 million upgrade included repairs to damage in the road surface and sidewalks, restoration of destination boards, and repainting of buildings and road markings (“Station deck revamp”, CapeTowner January 17 2019).
Mr De War said he feels the refurbishment did not fix any of the problems at the station deck. “It was pointless. Nothing is better. As you can see, the hygiene, the entrance, the exit is terrible.”
Taxi associations wanting to take part in the proceedings of the inquiry must send an application and short letter of motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm on tomorrow Friday June 14. Call Lesley-Ann Mackriel on 021 483 0328 for more information.