More MyCiTi woes

MD Quartermain, Camps Bay

To Mr (Brett) Herron (the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development), I am an 86-year-old senior citizen.

Last week I telephoned 0800 65 64 63 with the following results: Question: Where can I renew my MyCiTi card? Answer: Civic Centre or Table View.

Question: Can I renew my wife’s card for her? Answer: Yes.

Question: Our cards have an expiry date of 10/17. Can I renew them now? Answer 1: Er, I don’t know and I will check. Answer 2: Yes.

Yesterday I went to the Absa terminal in Camps Bay, inserted my card (etc.) and was informed that I had no points on the card. I attempted to remedy this but the machine was “offline” so I couldn’t.

Today I went to the Absa terminal in Camps Bay, inserted my card (etc.) and was again informed that I had no points on the card. I attempted to remedy this but was frustrated by the machine which, in spite of R30 being a “Mover Package” amount, it would only take R50 or higher amounts. I then got a lift (my only option) to the Sea Point MyCiTi terminal. On my arrival, lift gone of course, I was greeted by an “out of order” notice on the cashier’s office window.

Fortunately, she gave my card to one of her colleagues who said I could get to the Civic Centre on the balance and that I could catch the waiting bus. At about 10.30am I entered the, driverless but with the engine running, bus and waited. The engine stalled after a few minutes and a little later the (female) driver got into the driving seat. She then started the engine.

A minute or two later we set off on our journey to the Civic Centre. Our route took us to the V&A Waterfront where we stopped, with the engine running, and then waited for a total of 11 minutes.

After about five minutes the engine stalled. The driver, who had remained in her seat, immediately restarted it. Since the buses are not air conditioned there appears to be no valid reason for this total waste of fuel. There was no problem at Sea Point while the engine was “off”. Surely, the engines aren’t kept running all night are they? Eventually we set off for the Civic Centre. After the wait at the Waterfront we now appeared to be in a hurry since the driver ignored two, timeous, yellow warning lights and blatantly drove through the two respective red lights.

There was ample time on each occasion for her to stop without putting the passengers at risk. Just another taxi driver I suppose.

I left the Civic Centre terminus via the east exit and asked at the counter where I could renew my MyCiTi card. The lady at the desk said I could do it there, except that the lady who does it had “gone to the shops and would return later”. I then walked (quite a long walk too) to the reception counters at the Civic Centre to apply for pensioner’s rebate on my rates (My current annual rates, including refuse removal, amount to R2 562.72 more than I paid for my house and about six times more than they were when I retired. I wish my income would keep up with that rate of inflation!).

I returned to the MyCiTi terminal, entering at the east entrance, where I was told that card renewals were only done at the east entrance. Another long walk for an old man.

Inadvertently using my wife’s card, I entered the terminal and eventually arrived at the “inside” counter where there were five staff members in the office.

I then waited for a number of comings and goings at the “outside” counter to be completed. I was then “served” and told that, firstly, it would cost me a basic fare to get out of the terminal and that, even more annoyingly, I can only renew my card during the month of October.

Since there is a not unreasonable chance that I will not be able to get to the Civic Centre terminal during October I face the probability of losing the points on my current card and having to pay the full price of a new one.

My credit, debit and other bank cards are all replaced free of charge when they expire.

Not at all user friendly and hardly a “City that works for you”. I cannot agree with the writing on the edge of the steps up from the open square to the “Bridge” at second floor level of the Civic Centre and am sure that I am not the only person with similar sentiments.

Needless to say, I will have to avoid using the MyCiTi service for some time to come. In disgust.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, responds:

Thank you for affording us the opportunity to respond.

We would like to thank the commuter for bringing the matter to our attention. We apologise for any inconvenience. We have since made contact with the commuter and made arrangements to collect and deliver the new card to him.

This was to be done yesterday, Wednesday September 6, as it was the only day that Mr Quartermain was available.