STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

The City of Cape Town will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for the MyCiTi service, in line with our commitment to lowering carbon emissions.

Since its inception in May 2010, the MyCiTi service has significantly improved the quality of life of our residents through access to affordable, decent and safe public transport.

Approximately 38,5 million passenger journeys have been recorded on the MyCiTi service to date, with a total number of 1 531 418 passenger journeys for the month of November 2015 only.

As we extend the footprint of the MyCiTi service across the city, we also have a responsibility to lower our carbon emissions and the impact of pollution on the urban environment.

Cities across the world will soon reach a point where alternative fuel for public transport is no longer a choice but a prerequisite, and as such the City of Cape Town has decided to expand our current fleet of diesel buses with electric ones.

A tender for the procurement of a fleet of 12-metre electric buses is due to be advertised by the first week of February 2016.

The City is also considering electric double-decker buses for longer distance trips as they have more seating.

The tender specifies that the electric buses should be able to travel at least 250 km in traffic before the batteries need recharging.

Apart from the buses, the successful bidder must also provide the City with the charging stations for the buses and the necessary training for the bus drivers and mechanical engineers.

Researchers have made great advances in the development of electric buses over the past decade, some of which were presented at the African Union of Public Transport Workshop that was hosted by Transport for Cape Town in October last year.

If all goes according to plan, Transport for Cape Town will be the first municipality in the country to benefit from the latest alternative fuel technology and we will be the first city in Africa to use electric buses for public transport.

This is another step towards affirming our commitment to the Compact of Mayors and strengthening our pledge to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.

Apart from electric buses being eco-friendly with zero carbon emissions if we use solar power charging stations, a green fleet holds numerous other advantages.

The operational cost of electric buses is significantly lower – not only in terms of fuel, but also in relation to maintenance as there are fewer parts to service.

Electric buses are easier to drive, the motors generate less heat than traditional diesel engines, there is much less noise, and it is a smoother drive for passengers and bus drivers alike.

This initiative directly supports the City’s commitment to the Paris Pledge for Action at COP21 and as member of the C40 Cities to take progressive action and lead the way in reducing energy consumption and emissions.

The City’s Energy 2040 Strategy sets carbon targets and projects like this will help to ensure that we reach them. Transport for Cape Town has researched and is exploring the most appropriate mechanism for the procurement of solar technology to offset the energy required for the electric bus fleet, thereby further reducing emissions.

This is in addition to the carbon credits that the City will earn for operating a green fleet.

As we reduce our carbon footprint, Transport for Cape Town will earn carbon credits which the City will be able to sell to developed countries who are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol.

This will generate much-needed revenue for the City and result in public transport benefits for residents, making this investment even more worth our while.