Traffic Source: Google Images

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase, presented a budget yesterday which focuses on reducing congestion and the time locals spend in traffic by improving Cape Town’s overall transport options.

“The budget I present to Council this morning addresses the Transport Directorate’s main priority, namely to improve transport across Cape Town so that all of us can spend less time and money on commuting. Traffic and peak-hour congestion is an ever present factor we can hardly avoid. It has a direct impact on our quality of life. It determines how much time we spend commuting and most often we lose hours on congested roads when we could have been at home with our families,” said Purchase yesterday.

Purchase also mentioned the lack of a sufficient transport system in Cape Town which contributes to congestion as a whole and take a toll specifically on lower-income households which are further away from working opportunities. These household members spend the longest hours commuting and up to 43% of their monthly income is spent on transport costs alone.

This has brought the improvement of the public transport across Cape Town to the forefront of the City’s priorities.

“Over the next three financial years we will be spending about R2.9-billion rand on extending the footprint of MyCiTi bus service in the Metro South-east. This money is budgeted for the new roads and other infrastructure that are needed to establish MyCiTi routes between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and Claremont and Wynberg,” said Purchase.

Up to R412.4-million has been set aside for this financial year.

Traffic congestion remains one of Cape Town’s biggest challenges, to tackle this problem the City will continue to build new road and prioritising public transport, among other interventions.

“Rail is the most efficient and cheapest mode of public transport in the world. I want to make it clear to all present today that we remain committed to taking over the rail function from the National Government so that the City can be in charge of the most important public transport service in Cape Town. We will not be deterred from our ultimate goal. Transport officials are working on a thorough business plan which will be presented to Council once completed,” said Purchase.

In the meantime the City is partnering with PRASA and the Western Cape Government to establish the Rail Enforcement Unit to improve the safety and security of rail commuters and infrastructure. Once the rail service has stabilised, it will be more punctual and reliable and more commuters will consider this option and shift from road-based transport to rail. This will go a long way in reducing the number of vehicles on our road network and easing congestion in the peak-hour periods.

“Our congestion management programme is well under way and has already delivered additional road capacity in Somerset West with the dualling of Broadway Boulevard (R44) from Beach Road to Main Road; in Bellville with the extension of Jip de Jager Drive from Van Riebeeckshof Road to Racecourse Road; in Blaauwberg with the dualling of Plattekloof Road from De Grendel Avenue to Gert van Rooyen Road; and in Kuils River with the extension of Amandel Road from Bottelary Road to River Bridge, to name but a few,” said Purchase.

An additional R165.7-million will be spent in this financial year to add more new roads and links to relieve traffic congestion in the worst-affected areas. These include the dualling of Broadway Boulevard (R30-million); work on the Belhar Main Road (R35-million); the completion of the Kommetjie Road and Ou Kaapse Weg project (R24.9-million); Langverwacht Road (R23-million); and Sandown Road (R46-million). A further R22-million has been allocated to upgrade the north- and southbound lanes of the R44.

In order to prolong the lifespan of Cape Town’s 10,600-km, road network the City has set aside a further R173-million for the maintenance and reconstruction of the city’s roads for the 2019/20 financial year. The money will go towards the upgrading of concrete roads in Bonteheuwel, Uitsig, Bishop Lavis, Hanover Park, Heideveld, and Kalksteenfontein, as well as in Gugulethu.

“Roadworks by its very nature cause traffic delays and unfortunately, this is the inconvenience we have to endure when protecting and preserving our assets and when providing new infrastructure,” said Purchase.

As we continue to battle with our daily commute and seemingly endless congestion, residents can only look forward to the day that our public transport can finally be relied on.