Anger over discontinuation of Dial-a-Ride service to Atlantis

Abram Lintnaar, 50, of Atlantis will be one of the affected commuters whose service with Dial-a-Ride will come to an end next month. supplied image

Abram Lintnaar, 50, of Atlantis will be one of the affected commuters whose service with Dial-a-Ride will come to an end next month. supplied image

Published Feb 24, 2024


Cape Town - The decision to discontinue Cape Town city’s Dial-a-Ride (DAR) service to Atlantis from March 18, will impact commuters with disability who rely heavily on the service.

Among those who are unhappy are two regular customers with disability; and a couple who complained of discrimination because their three-year-old daughter could not accompany them as she was a minor in terms of the service’s rigid registration policy.

The City’s Mayco member for urban mobility Rob Quintas, said budget cuts and an oversubscribed service had led to a review of the service which had high cancellations, and passengers who lived close to MyCiTi bus stops.

He said the annual budget was R28,1 million with an additional R5 million for the 2023/24 financial year: “Unfortunately, the service is over-subscribed, meaning the budget/resources is not nearly enough to meet the current demand for the service.”

The service currently caters for approximately 2 240 users a month, of which, 310 use the service on a daily basis for work, 1930 on an ad-hoc basis, during off-peak periods, by booking trips seven days in advance, subject to availability.

“Over the past few months we have investigated the travel patterns, routes, and disabilities of those who are using the service on a regular basis; their proximity to a MyCiTi bus route; the number of cancellations logged per week; and how often they need the service to travel to work and back,” he said.

“We have identified two regular users who will no longer have access on a daily basis from March 18.

“A detailed analysis of the users brought to light that the two commuters are visually impaired, but live within 500 metres from a MyCiTi bus stop.

“They will be able to use the MyCiTi bus service to travel from Atlantis to their workplace in Salt River where there is a MyCiTi bus stop right in front of their destination.

“The City offered to assist the two commuters to become familiar with the MyCiTi service, both users declined the offer.”

Abram Lintnaar, 50, who has been blind since birth and travels daily from Atlantis to Cape Town, to work place at the Cape Town Society for the Blind. He said if the services comes to an end he could face unemployment. “I have been using their services for over 30 years.

“Financially, this will impact me and if they discontinue the service to me then I will become employed because how will I be able to afford to travel everyday by having to take three buses and what about my safety.

“The City said I must walk from home to the nearest stop and an official will wait for me there only on that day and travel with me.”

A blind couple from Strandfontein, Sharon and Adrian Davids who have a three-year-old daughter have written several letters to the City, mayor and premier’s office, claiming they were discriminated against as their child was not allowed to make use of the service.

“My concern deepens as it appears that these regulations may impede the ability of disabled women to balance the responsibilities of motherhood with the necessity of utilising Dial-A-Ride,” said Davids in one of the letters.

“The notion of being advised to use a separate service, such as Uber, for a three-year-old child is distressing and raises questions about the fairness and inclusivity of the current regulations.”

Quintas said they were in communication with the Davids last week to explain the regulations and procedures which do not allow a non-registered person on their vehicles.

“The service is meant for those who cannot use conventional transport services because of special needs,” he said.

“In addition, unfortunately, unregistered users and carers take up additional space on the vehicle that could otherwise have been used to transport an additional user with impairment/disabilities.”

Sandra Dreyer of the Cape Town Society of the Blind, and chairperson of the South African National Council for the Blind, said they were informed that two of their staff would be impacted by the service being discontinued to Atlantis. “Since then we have been enquiring for more concrete information from the City and HG travel, to which they responded that they are unaware of such decision made and it is being investigated.”

The South African Human Rights Commission said they would be investigating the claims and concerns. “There is a need to ascertain the veracity of the alleged cancellation, and how blind people are going to be catered for going forward.

“The SAHRC's 2017-2018 Equality Report found that government policy and conduct is failing persons with disabilities by not ensuring accessibility in the universal design of goods, services, equipment and facilities, and failing to reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities.”

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