Transport issues in Cape Town are starting to impact business productivity. Our population continues to grow by 2-3% every year as an average of 10 families per day move to the Cape from other provinces. Accelerate Cape Town, together with Wesgro, hosted its second Thought Leaders engagement on Addressing Transport Issues to Enhance Business Productivity with Cllr Brett Herron from the City of Cape Town, Richard Walker Regional Manager at Metrorail, Vernal Jones Harbour Master at the Port of Cape Town and Yolisa Mashilwane Head of Public Policy for Uber SA:
- Cllr Brett Herron spoke to plans to address traffic congestion, including developing the Foreshore Freeway Precinct, and providing a R750 million investment for road infrastructure and development. He acknowledged that this investment to tackle key hotspots is inadequate and said that a Travel Demand Management Plan will be presented to business in upcoming months to assist in bringing about behavioural change, including flexible working hours, offering staff the opportunity to work from home, park-and-rides, etc.
- With regards to the V&A Waterfront congestion, Capt Vernal Jones mentioned the collaborative efforts between Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the City of Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront to find alternative solutions using port roads. He also mentioned that Transnet have a strategy to move cargo to rail which would help with congestion, but the challenge associated with this strategy was highlighted by Cllr Herron who said that only 10% of cargo is currently on rail and that a section of the rail network needs to be connected to the port to make this a reality.
- Referencing the success of rail operations in 2010, Richard Walker highlighted that a key issue on the rail network is that part of it is owned by Transnet. When issues occur on these lines, PRASA is not prioritised, and PRASA wants the structure relooked at a ministerial level. Richard also encouraged business to get involved to support safety along the rail network through corporate branding opportunities. He also mentioned a big demand for their premier services specifically for business and the possibility of park-and-rides for Fishhoek and Simonstown.
- Yolisa Mashilwane echoed sentiments that the solution to easing traffic congestion does not only lie in infrastructure, but in behavioural change. She spoke about a number of Uber products and that they were piloting Uber Pool with two companies in Johannesburg. She also said that providing parking will not result in behavioural change and that 1500 additional cars add one hour to peak travel, so we need to think of different solutions such as reducing availability and ease of parking, for example.
The session concluded with an interesting Q&A with a commitment from corporate Cape Town to consider innovative and alternative transport solutions to ease congestion and encourage behavioural change. As this event forms part of a series on transport, we look forward to partnering with the Consulate General of the Netherlands on their Mobility Indaba which takes place from 6-10 October.