The endgame of Cape Town’s quest to transform public transport will be to ensure residents and tourists alike rely less on private cars, with the central business district becoming a no-car zone, DA councillor Angus McKenzie has said.
McKenzie was speaking to Fin24 on the sidelines of the International Transport Forum Summit in Leipzig, Germany last week. He said the benefits of world class transport enjoyed by tourists in South Africa had to trickle down to locals.
McKenzie spoke in detail about apartheid spatial planning and how it disadvantaged poor South Africans even in 2019, as it ensured that black, coloured and Indian South Africans lived far from economic activities and opportunities.
“Why not look at the one-card system that says when you purchase a plane ticket you get a five-day transport pass that allows you to access these facilities? Our solution is going to be the introduction of bicycles, better trains, buses, and making our inner city a no-car zone,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie told Fin24 that spatial planning and transport in South Africa was skewed to the point where poor people with access to inefficient transport are forced to buy cars, while rich people have access to world-class public transport systems that they do not need.
“In Leipzig and Berlin and Paris, the people who use public transport are people who have the financial ability to get their own cars. It is just that the public transport systems are so convenient for them that they don’t need to buy cars.
“We are in a situation where we make public transport for high LSM residents and expect low income LSM to use them. We have to find a way to bring the lower LSMs in. It’s going to take hard decisions,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie told Fin24 that the presence of Cape Town at the ITF Summit was critical, as Cape Town was emerging as local and regional a force in trade, industry, tech and even finance.
“Cape Town has really become a dynamic, international, first-world city. It is important to understand what is happening in other cities, mobility and understanding best practice. To maintain the status quo and grow what we have achieved, we have to look at what the world is doing,” he said.
He said his report to the City of Cape Town would include a proposition to include trams in the Cape Town public transport network in the distant future.