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Proposed BRT route to affect taxi industry

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A proposed MyCiti bus route being touted for Wynberg and Plumstead is expected to have negative implications for a taxi industry currently operating within the same vicinity. The new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is being planned for construction on South Road, which runs through both suburbs. However the route has been a major issue of contention after the City of Cape Town issued eviction notices to 30 families, in a bid to pave the way for construction.

In a collective effort to protest the proposed introduction of the BRT route, affected residents, schools, as well as taxi associations held a march more than two weeks ago. During the protest, a memorandum was handed over to Transport MEC, Dipuo Peters, as well as the City’s Mayoral Committee (Mayco).

“We are without any response from them as yet. It is two weeks later and we were told the day of the march when we handed it over that we would get word or a reply the next day. We did not get any reply,” stated Amien Carlsen, Chairperson of the Wynberg Taxi Industry.

Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat on Thursday, Mayco member for Transport Brett Herron insisted the process was still in the planning stages, and public consultations would take place upon its conclusion. But with eviction notices having already been distributed to residents, Carlsen suggested his statements were tinged with ‘contradictions’.

“He is contradicting himself by saying there is no alternative route, whereas the Wetton corridor was the alternative route all these years. He is being a liar,” he said.

He stressed that throughout the process, the City had not once consulted the taxi industry on the proposed BRT route. As a result, it is believed that up to 350 taxi drivers and guards are expected to be without work.

“What happens to their minibuses? What happens to the people that we transport to school here in Wynberg from Lotus River, Hanover Park, Grassy Park, and Mitchell’s Plain? What happens to those children, are they going to get on the MyCiti buses?” said Carlsen.

He refuted suggestions by Herron that the uproar was based on the views of a few in the area, insisting that the majority in Wynberg were opposed to the BRT system.

In the case of the houses touted to be demolished, despite suggestions that they had been acquired over a sustained period of time for municipal purposes, Carlsenclaimed the land was in fact acquired “with the Apartheid tactics of yesterday”.

In a bid to halt the process, the Wynberg Tax Industry, and residents have reportedly undertaken legal action against the City. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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