The Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor will provide residents from Khayelitsha to Philippi, Nyanga to Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain to Hanover Park, Wynberg and Claremont with a direct, efficient and scheduled public transport service. Of equal significance are the opportunities that this corridor will unlock within the 35 communities along its way in terms of improved accessibility to these areas, the increased mobility of the local residents, reduced congestion, new developments, private investment and the subsequent urban regeneration to flow from this.
'The Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor is as much about improved mobility as it is about redress, empowerment and access. This investment will assist us in creating an inclusive city where everybody has a stake in the future and enjoys a sense of belonging,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
The two interconnecting trunk routes that will form the 'spine’ of the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor will cover a distance of 53 km, connecting residents from 35 communities along the way.
The project will see the investment of R4,1 billion over the coming years, in accordance with the allocation of national grant funding. This will be spent on the construction of the dedicated red lanes, bus stops, stations, depots, park-and-ride facilities, and non-motorised transport facilities to meet the demand of a ridership estimated to be four times that of Phase 1 of the MyCiTi service.
'It may be easy to count the rands, to measure the kilometres, and to record the number of residents to benefit from this massive project. What is more difficult to quantify though is the legacy that we will leave behind once we have built the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor: improved access, inclusivity, connectivity, and a better quality of life for our residents who live in these areas,’ says Councillor Herron.
More than 1,4 million people live within the metro south-east and southern quadrant of the city, with the majority of commuters from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha having to travel at least 20 km every morning to get to work.
The residents whose workplace or school is in the south spend even more time and money on travelling, with the majority having to make a double trip as there is no direct east-west rail link or trunk route between Wynberg and Claremont and the metro south-east. They travel to Cape Town first and then from Cape Town to the south. The same situation applies to residents who want to travel from the southern suburbs to the metro south-east and beyond.
Meanwhile those residents who do not use rail to reach the south rely on existing bus services and minibus-taxis which currently compete with private vehicles for road space. In fact, the demand for travel within the peak hour in this quadrant of the city has surpassed the supply of public transport services, as well as the capacity of the current road infrastructure, resulting in severe congestion where the traffic along Main Road in Wynberg at times moves at an average speed of less than 10 km/h.
'As was revealed in the City’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) plan, commuters from the metro south-east devote a substantial percentage of their monthly household income to transport and they spend hours on the road because of these inefficiencies. Furthermore, the impact of the congestion is felt on the primary and secondary residential roads in the south due to the lack of streamlined, efficient public transport. This search for faster routes to work often results in rat races and speeding on residential roads in these suburbs,’ said Councillor Herron.
Broad overview of routes
As stipulated in the City’s IPTN plan that was approved by Council on 25 June 2014, the MyCiTi Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor will provide for the most critical 'missing link’ between the metro south-east and the southern suburbs.
Broadly speaking, the trunk route from Khayelitsha will run along Japhta K Masemola Road (formerly known as Lansdowne Road) and the trunk route from Mitchells Plain along AZ Berman Drive. These two trunk routes will interconnect along Govan Mbeki Road and will then fork towards Wynberg along Strandfontein and Ottery Roads and towards Claremont along Jan Smuts Drive and Turfhall Road.
It is anticipated that for the interconnected portion of the corridor along Govan Mbeki Road (between Stock and Strandfontein Roads/Jan Smuts Drive), the uptake could be as high as 14 000 on-board passengers during the morning peak hour.
The projected number of on-board passengers from the metro south-east in the direction of Wynberg and Claremont only, and during the morning peak hour, is 7 600.
'This projection is significant given that the busy T01 trunk service from Table View to the Civic Centre station carries on average 2 000 passengers during the morning peak period. This means that a MyCiTi bus will need to pass along the interconnected portion of the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor at least every 60 seconds to meet the demand during the morning peak hour,’ said Councillor Herron.
In addition multiple feeder routes will link commuters along the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor, all in all connecting residents from 35 communities: Enkanini, Kuyasa, Harare, Mandela Park, Village 1, Khayelitsha CBD, Nonqubela, Ikwezi Park, Philippi East, Crossroads, Philippi, Nyanga, Brown’s Farm, Gugulethu, Manenberg, Sweet Home, Hanover Park, Lansdowne, Turf Hall Estate, Ottery, Ottery East, Royal Cape, Plumstead, Wynberg, Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain CBD, Eastridge, Beacon Valley, Lentegeur, Wetton, Crawford, Kenwyn, Rondebosch East, Kenilworth and Claremont.
In deciding along which roads the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor will operate, the City has taken into account the existing rail lines and stations in the metro south-east and the south, and how best the bus rapid transit (BRT) or dedicated red bus lanes can complement the rail network.
Furthermore, other essential criteria are applied for the BRT, such as: the intersections along the road should be a reasonable space apart - at least 600 m - to ensure that the buses can travel at an efficient speed; the adjacent land use and densities must support BRT; and there must be available space to provide for a separate dedicated red lane (BRT lane).
In applying these criteria, Japhta K Masemola Road and AZ Berman Drive were identified as the spine of the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor and Strandfontein and Ottery Roads towards Wynberg and Jan Smuts Drive and Turfhall Road towards Claremont as the 'teeth’ of the fork.
The Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor will consist of two interchangeable dedicated trunk routes:
- the trunk route from Khayelitsha will run along Japhta K Masemola Road with the distance from Khayelitsha to Wynberg at approximately 35,5 km
- the trunk route from Mitchells Plain will run along AZ Berman Drive with the distance from Mitchells Plain to Claremont at approximately 25 km
- these two trunk routes will interconnect along Govan Mbeki Road between Stock and Strandfontein Roads/Jan Smuts Drive
- multiple feeder routes will link 35 communities along the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor
- as per the initial conceptual design, the preliminary indications are for as many as 45 pairs of bus stops and 25 stations to be constructed along the trunk routes
- six park-and-ride facilities
- three bus depot facilities
- a proposed couplet along Brodie and Main Roads in Wynberg (a couplet is a set of one-way lanes in opposite directions - such as the couplet along Loop and Long Streets in the Cape Town central business district - to alleviate congestion and improve the flow of traffic).
A detailed design of the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor, coupled with a community engagement process, will result in the finalisation of the locations of the MyCiTi stations and stops.
It is expected that construction will commence during the middle part of next year, with the two prioritised sites being Stock Road in Philippi and Strandfontein Road in Ottery.
'If everything works out according to plan, we will launch the Lansdowne/Wetton Corridor in 2020. Admittedly, this will require an immense effort, some sacrifices and the will to work together in finding solutions and reaching agreements. Each one of us - from the City, in its coordination and project management role through Transport for Cape Town, and the National Government in providing the funds needed for this massive project; to the contractors; the role players in the public transport industry, such as the Golden Arrow Bus Service and the taxi operators; to our residents - has to contribute if we want to succeed in building this corridor which is to become a monument to unity, inclusivity, access, efficiency and opportunity,’ says Councillor Herron.