Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has confirmed that the City of Cape Town’s draft budget includes subsidising MyCiti bus fees for unemployed residents.
“We want to implement this initiative to take away that obstacle of travel costs, which can prevent people’s access to job opportunities,” De Lille said on Tuesday during her presentation of the draft budget.
The city’s Transport and Urban Development Authority will request a R6.6-million reduction in its budget proposal on Tuesday, the Cape Times reported.
De Lille confirmed that the city has made provisions for up to R6.6-million to “pay for and subsidise” MyCiti bus fares for people who don’t have jobs.
The city has come under scrutiny after campaigns in Sea Point and Salt River by activists of the pressure group Reclaim the City attracted publicity on social housing in the inner city of Cape Town. The sale of a site in Tafelberg to a school and not for affordable housing and looming evictions in Bromwell Street in Salt River have put pressure on the city to address apartheid spatial planning.
Reclaim the City commended Brett Herron, a ward councillor and mayoral committee member for transport, on the news that MyCiti bus fees would be subsidised. The group said that there should be more policies to undo apartheid spatial planning.
Herron responded: “This is part of a strategy to mitigate and reverse, where possible, apartheid spatial legacy. The components of this are coming together.”
The MyCiti bus initially provided services in the inner city, but has now branched out to areas such as Atlantis, 40km away from the city, and Mitchells Plain and Khayeltisha on the Cape Flats.
Should the draft budget be implemented, unemployed people in Cape Town can use the MyCiti bus service during off-peak hours between 10am and 3.30pm. They will get a MyConnect card for these hours, allowing them to use the service for free.
De Lille said that the free bus rides should come into effect by the end of September.
“This is a manifesto commitment to residents where we said we are going to give job seekers free access to transport,” De Lille said.