Cape Town traffic affecting business

Mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, revealed in a report that freight companies lose up to R121m a year in missed business opportunities because of Cape Town’s traffic gridlocks.

Freight companies also spent R1.755bn a year on petrol, salaries, maintenance, repairs and toll fees when they operate into or within the City of Cape Town.

The impact on roads was also high, since it cost the city R713m in maintenance. The council was working on a plan to cut these costs, by moving as much freight as possible to the rail network. The study also found that 95% of public transport users were lower- and lower-middle income users. The lower group used 45% of their income on transport. Herron said this was because they lived mainly outside town.

Economist Chris Hart said congestion could mean there was an under-investment in infrastructure and warned it could “choke up” an economy. On the commuter findings, he said, “The way our cities are designed is that you live in one area and you work in one area, and that gives rise to the need to commute.”

He said town planners needed to design “places” that reduced the need to commute. “If one is not earning enough money, there are going to be days when you just don’t have money to go to work.”