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Service’s wheels finally in motion

Council’s Dial-a-Ride service will return to optimal service levels in due course.

This after the City of Cape Town’s Transport Directorate came into agreement with HG Travelling Services, also the current operator.

The new Dial-a-Ride (DAR) contract, signed during mid December, will see HG Travelling Services provide the service until the end of September.

According to Felicity Purchase, Mayoral Committee member for Transport, the DAR service is provided within the boundaries of the metropole, which includes the Helderberg area.

“The fleet services the whole metro area,” she stated. “So, in short, vehicles are not allocated to specific areas, but are utilised or deployed in accordance with the demand for the service on any given day.”

DAR is a unique service and is partly funded by provincial government and the City. This is the only municipality in South Africa to establish an alternative for commuters with special needs who cannot use conventional public transport.

DAR has experienced capacity constraints over the last few months, owing to a reduction in the number of vehicles and a limited budget.

“I’m delighted to say that the new contract was signed on 18 December 2019,” Purchase said. “We have managed to secure a bigger budget for the service; we now have more money available to replace and repair vehicles that are needed to provide the DAR service.”

The City is working with HG Travelling Services to restore the full fleet as soon as possible. “Some of the vehicles may be ready within days, but in some cases we will have to wait for parts coming from overseas,” said Purchase.

“Be that as it may, we now have the funds and are committed to having a full fleet of 22 vehicles operational as soon as we can.”

About 3 000 commuters are registered on the DAR database and eligible to use the service, with 350 using it regularly and up to 2 270 on an ad-hoc basis.

Most DAR vehicles can accommodate five commuters in wheelchairs and three seated passengers with other needs. Guide dogs are allowed as well as registered carers.

“Another positive development is the fact that we re-established the DAR Forum in last August to address users’ complaints and concerns,” Purchase continued.

“The forum is constituted by DAR users, City officials and representatives of the service provider. I am urging users to use this forum to bring their concerns to our attention. In so doing, we can be proactive and improve the service in collaboration with the users and the operator.”

Eligible commuters can use the DAR service on an ad hoc basis (once-off trip) for which a booking is required each time a person wishes to make a trip.

The booking system works on a first-come-first-served basis and can be made seven days in advance. Eligible persons can phone 0800 600 895 to book a ride.

V DAR users are reminded that they can report complaints to the operator’s call centre or council’s Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63.

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