The Dial-a-Ride (DAR) service for commuters with special needs will get a much-needed financial boost as the City of Cape Town is set to invest R17 million in new vehicles for the service.
The new fleet will be equipped with special technology for transporting commuters utilising wheelchairs with vehicles also capable of accommodating 64 seated passengers with special needs and 56 passengers with wheelchairs per trip, stated the City via a statement.
Along with specialised equipment to lift wheelchair users into the vehicle, the buses have also been fitted with cameras and tracking devices so that the vehicles can be located at any time.
“This investment confirms the City’s commitment to ensuring that we improve access to opportunities for those who need it most. Many people who are in wheelchairs, or those with impaired eyesight, cannot get to where they need to be and rely on the DAR service for assistance. ”
The DAR service is both incredible and unique as it enables those eligible to utilise the service to forgo conventional public transport and instead get picked up at their doorstep and transported to their destination, whether it be a school, their workplace, shopping centre, or hospital.
The new vehicles are set to hit the road mid-January, with the DAR service continuing to improve its service until 30 September 2023 when the City’s contract with the DAR operator, HG Travelling Services, comes to an end.
“In the meantime, we are working on a long-term business plan for a sustainable service that is more cost effective and able to assist more users. Unfortunately, the demand for this service is much greater than what we can provide at the moment, thus we have to investigate alternatives to improve access,’ said Councillor Quintas.”
Picture: The City of Cape Town