The City’s public transport interchange in Nomzamo was selected as the winner in the category for community upliftment at the 80th IMESA/CESA Excellence Awards in East London on Tuesday evening, 25 October 2016.
The Institute of Municipal Engineering of South Africa (IMESA) and Consulting Engineers SA (CESA) Excellence Awards give recognition to well-engineered civil engineering infrastructure projects. The project must portray the art and science of civil engineering for infrastructure to the general public and must find answers to challenges.
‘We officially opened the Nomzamo public transport interchange on 17 August last year. I am exceptionally proud of the recognition that this project has received from IMESA and CESA. Our officials worked for months on end to create a transport interchange which not only meets the commuters’ demands, but is also sensitive to our local environment where water is scarce and clean energy is a must-have. They have put in many hours – from engagements with the local minibus-taxi operators, to the research, planning and utilisation of civil engineering solutions – to provide the local community with a world-class public transport interchange,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, transformed the informal taxi rank opposite the Nomzamo Community Hall into a sustainable public transport facility, with solar panels on the roof, washing facilities for minibus-taxis, kiosks for informal traders, and bathroom facilities for commuters. Previously, minibus-taxis at the informal rank in Nomzamo operated from a potholed asphalt surface with inadequate food and seating facilities, no bathrooms, and very little shelter against the elements.
‘The IMESA/CESA Excellence Award acknowledges the effort we have put into coming up with a new design which focused on providing the residents of Nomzamo with a dignified space where they can board taxis and socialise. In this sense one can say that the new taxi rank plays an important role in improving the community’s living conditions,’ said Councillor Herron. At least 115 minibus-taxis operate from this facility, transporting more than 20 000 local residents to destinations in Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay, Heldervue, Strand and Stellenbosch each week.
'When Lwandle was established in 1958 by the then apartheid government to accommodate the workers for the nearby fruit and canning industry, no effort was made to provide the migrant workers with decent public open spaces and facilities. Given the township’s history, rapid development, and the increase in the population of adjacent Nomzamo, there are few open public spaces where residents can get together. Thus, when TCT started drawing up the plans for the taxi rank, we kept in mind that the residents of Nomzamo would not only use the facility for boarding a taxi, but that it would soon also become a meeting place for socialising, eating and shopping,' said Councillor Herron.
The construction of the Nomzamo public transport interchange (PTI) commenced in May 2014, with the contract value amounting to nearly R12 million.
'The Nomzamo PTI uses a rooftop solar photovoltaic panel system for electricity generation. There are 68 solar panels on the roof, arrayed at optimum orientation to the sun. The solar panels provide sufficient electricity for the office building and 16% of the entire facility’s electricity during the peak periods, inclusive of the trading kiosks. Once the PTI is equipped with batteries for the storage of reserve solar electricity to be used at night or on cloudy days, it will be able to operate completely off the electricity grid,’ said Councillor Herron.
Until such time as the public transport interchange operates completely off the electricity grid, the City will still see huge savings in electricity costs.
A wash bay, fitted with an overhead canopy and metered water supply, can accommodate two minibus-taxis at a time. It is fitted with an underground oil separator, preventing oil and grease from entering the sewer system.
‘In 2011 Transport for Cape Town conducted a condition assessment of all of the public transport facilities across the city. At that time, the taxis in Nomzamo operated from an informal taxi rank where commuters and taxi operators had no shelter against bad weather or access to proper facilities. We have transformed that space into a new PTI where residents have a safe and dignified area for waiting and connecting with their fellow commuters. We are honoured for receiving the Excellence Award and we are committed to making similar investments in other areas to improve the quality of life of our residents,’ said Councillor Herron.