Tips for smoother service

Christopher Grinton, Hout Bay

I am an unabashed fan of the MyCiTi bus service. There are, however, some minor improvements I think could make a major difference to the smooth running of the service.

1. MyCiTi opted for the ‘in-traffic’ stop method, whereby the bus does not pull off the road, but stops in the traffic flow to load or unload passengers and so avoid having to struggle to get back into traffic. The problem it causes is that another MyCiTi bus can be forced over the double white line to pass.

2. The sheer number of buses waiting to collect passengers puts a lot of load on the traffic infrastructure, and significantly adds to congestion.

3. As a passenger, I’ve noticed some buses will idle for five to 10 minutes at their stops with the doors open, even in cooler winter conditions. Could they instead not switch off their engines to reduce pollution.

4. In Camps Bay, they have situated a bus stop (Glen Beach) on a narrow, curving part of Victoria Road, when just 10m earlier, there is enough space for a stop that would have been a much safer option.

5. The bus stop at Bakoven outbound from Cape Town, is again, situated on a fairly dangerous bend, while there is a bus stop/turning area immediately behind it. I recommend MyCiTi re-examine using the same bus top, but facing east instead of west, in other words, using an existing, safe, out-of-the-traffic bus stop to enable the free flow of traffic. Motorists will allow the MyCiTi bus back into the flow of traffic –
that is how much goodwill exists for this service.

I’m keen to hear MyCiTi management’s views on this, hopefully a thorough analysis, rather than, “We thought of that, but it won’t work”

Again, well done, a great service, generally, and while owning three motorbikes and one car, I still use MyCiTi.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, responds:

I want to thank Mr Grinton for using the MyCiTi service and for his observations and suggestions.

Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, is investigating the possibility of shifting the centre line (by repainting it) along Victoria Road in Camps Bay to address the challenge Mr Grinton has raised. Shifting the centre line, however, may necessitate the removal of some of the on-street parking bays along Victoria Road.

The City has provided a bus embayment at the stops along Victoria Road (painted in yellow) to allow those buses that are running ahead of time to wait for the scheduled departure time. It often happens, however, that motorists either park within
the bus embayment (thus using it as on-street parking) or that they reluctantly allow buses to re-enter the traffic from the embayment.

The bus should be switched off while waiting for the scheduled departure time. We have once again reminded the vehicle operating companies who operate the MyCiTi buses along this route to inform their bus drivers to refrain from idling excessively at the Camps Bay stops.

The locations of the MyCiTi stops along Victoria Road and elsewhere in Camps Bay were determined by a number of factors, including the need to limit the impact on on-street parking bay reductions, the need to have the stops as close to streetlight poles as possible for safety reasons, and the fact that buses cannot dock comfortably or snugly on curves, especially on the outside of a right-hand curve as proposed by Mr Grinton.

In response to Mr Grinton’s last point, the bus “turning area” is meant for short turns for operational reasons when buses do not operate all the way to Hout Bay, but instead turn “short” at this location before heading back to town. Thus the bus stop “facing east” was meant for buses that would thereafter turn right (or northwards) out of the “turning area” towards Sea Point/Camps Bay.

The outer-to-outer dimension of a 9m bus undertaking a 180-degree turn is about 20m. The proximity of the bus stop “facing east” to the stop line and the island geometry does not support a bus turning left or southwards or towards Hout Bay as this will straddle the opposing (northbound) lane on the M6 as it completes this 135-degree left-turning manoeuvre, deeming it unsafe.

Congestion is a city-wide challenge and is more acute during the popular tourist months, in particular on roads along the Atlantic Seaboard.

The only long-term solution is not to have less public transport – such as the MyCiTi buses, but to have fewer private vehicles on Cape Town’s roads and to have more residents and visitors opting for public transport and walking and cycling where feasible.