THE excitement of outlying residents over the establishment of the MyCiti public transport bus route up the west coast road has been dampened by a lack of park-and-ride facilities for those not serviced by the MyCiti feeder routes.
The MyCiti trunk route from the city centre up the west coast along the congested R27 to Blouberg was opened in May this year, enabling commuters to avoid sitting in rush hour traffic.
Feeder routes servicing suburbs such as Blouberg, Parklands and Table View transport residents to the main station at Bayside Mall where they transfer onto the trunk route into the city.
Commuters further north, in suburbs like Melkbosstrand and Atlantis, and even in Darling beyond the city's boundary have also welcomed the service as it allows them to avoid the congestion which builds up from Table View.
But finding parking close to the Bayside Mall bus station has put a damper on their enthusiasm.
Darling resident Paul Darne said he travels into Cape Town once a week to conduct business in the city and welcomed the opportunity to skip the rush hour traffic.
He said after driving to Blouberg he parked in the Table View shopping centre opposite the Bayside Mall as there was a large and predominantly empty parking area with no parking charges.
He said he parked on the perimeter of the car park and was upset to find a notice on his car warning him that if he parked there again he would have his wheel clamped.
The Bayside Mall, he said, was not an option as it charged an hourly parking rate.
"I would love to use the bus to connect to town," said Darne.
While the city is extending the trunk and feeder routes further along the R27, planning to extend all the way to Atlantis, by its own admission it has not planned for park-and-ride facilities.
City spokesperson Kylie Hatton said commuters driving to the bus station was "not something that we want to encourage too much".
Hatton said the focus was on setting up more feeder routes than supplying parking facilities.
The primary focus was extending the MyCiti routes, she said.
"The park-and-ride is not a primary priority for our project team."
Table View Rate Payers Associations (TVRA) vice chairman Eric Joffe said the city "didn't think out of the box" and consider practical difficulties.
Table View Shopping Centre manager Athena Beard said the centre did not have a formal arrangement with the city to allow MyCiti commuters to park there.
However, she confirmed that meetings had been held with the city regarding providing park-and-ride facility and were "on-going in order to understand the city's requirements and marry these with the centre's".
She said at present commuters who regularly required parking in order to catch the MyCiti bus could make arrangements with the centre's management.
Across the road, Bayside Mall landlord Rael Abramowitz said discussions over parking had taken place with the city about "two or more years ago" and the council was told there would be capacity for commuters to park at the mall.
He said there were about 30 people who had made arrangements to park at the mall. However, the mall charged a monthly fee of R250.
Credit: African News
28 August 2011