The City of Cape Town has invested R17 million in new vehicles for the Dial-a-Ride service for commuters with special needs.
The new fleet consists of 13 vehicles and will be fully operational by mid-January, the City said in a statement.
New Dial-a-Ride vehicles were recently delivered to the depot in Parow Industria.
Some of them are equipped with advanced technology for a more comfortable ride when transporting commuters in wheelchairs.
The dedicated kerb-to-kerb service is for people with disabilities who are unable to access mainstream public transport services.
The fleet can accommodate 64 seated passengers with special needs and 56 passengers in wheelchairs per trip.
Apart from the specialised equipment to lift wheelchair users into the vehicle, the buses are also fitted with cameras and tracking devices so that the vehicles can be located at any time.
The City’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Rob Quintas, visited the depot on Wednesday January 5 to see the new vehicles.
He said eligible users are picked up at their doorstep and transported to their destination, be it a school, the workplace, or hospital. Users are required to book in advance, and the service operates Monday to Sunday from 5am until 10pm. The last time that the City replaced the Dial-a-Ride fleet was in 2015.
The Dial-a-Ride service currently has 319 regular users, and 2 300 eligible users who are transported on an ad hoc-basis.
Mr Quintas said the service will continue in its current form until September 2023 when the City’s contract with the 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.”