Dial-a-Ride, a public transport service provided by the City for those with special needs who are unable to make use of conventional public transport, may be increasing its capacity for users.

The City of Cape Town is the only municipality in the country that offers a public transport service to commuters with disabilities or special needs. Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Felicity Purchase says that the City is working hard to ensure there is enough funding to increase the service capacity.

“The City has a limited budget and is currently engaging with the Western Cape Government to increase its subsidy. It is also requesting that National Government provides a financial contribution which will allow for an increase in capacity,” she says.

As a kerb-to-kerb service for people with disabilities, it is subsidised by the Western Cape Government and the City. Currently, the service is used by 350 regular users and 2 270 passengers use it on an ad hoc basis. The service is integrated with the MyCiTi bus service, which also caters to passengers in wheelchairs.

The tender for the service was initially handled by HG Travelling Services, with the contract ending in June 2018. However, HG Travelling Service and the court has placed an interdict on the City which prevents it from handing over the tender to the newly-selected company, WCL Trading CC.

Purchase assures the public that the service remains and will remain running regardless of the court case.

“It is important to emphasise that the service continues. The interdict prevents the City from issuing the contract to the new service provider until the review application has been finalised in court. HG Travelling Services will keep on providing the Dial-a-Ride service on a month-to-month basis pending the outcome of the court.”

Only 20 vehicles are currently in operation, placing strain on the transport service.

“We understand that there is some frustration from the users and we can assure them that we are doing everything in our power to have the service function optimally.”

Users of the service are encouraged to report any faults of the vehicle to the Transport Information Centre on 080 656 463, which is a 24/7 information centre and is toll-free from a landline or cellphone. Complaints can also be submitted to [email protected]

How it works

Potential users must submit an application to the Transport Information Centre as the service is currently oversubscribed and there is a waiting list. Each applicant must undergo an assessment carried out by an occupational therapist to determine whether the applicant is able to use conventional public transport services or not.

Users must book in advance to use the service as it has a limited capacity. Only caregivers who are required to come with the passenger if an occupational therapist has found that their assistance is necessary are allowed to accompany them.

Fare

Currently the fee for passengers using the Dial-a-Ride service is as follows:

– Under 5km: R6.50

– 5-10km: R8.50

– 30-40km: R14.50

– 40-50km: R15

– 50-60km: R15.50

– Longer than 60km: R16

Passengers currently only pay an estimated 10% of the cost of providing the service.

Picture: Pexels

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about animals, social issues, the environment and current affairs.