After consistently changing the goalposts in terms of when it will finally launch the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS), the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality now has no definite timeframe.
Next month, it will be a year since the initial launch of the ill-fated project.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the municipality signed an Assets Use Rights agreement yesterday with operating company Spectrum Alert, which will operate the buses on behalf of the municipality. “The municipality is working on the depot lease agreement with the operating company, while arrangements for ticket offices and infrastructure are being finalised,” Mniki said.
“Once all the above have been finalised, the IPTS system [will] start immediately.
“We are busy with final arrangements, then the city will announce the launch date in due course.”
Following trial runs in November and December, the launch of the Cleary Park route was meant to take place at the end of January.
The tender for the construction of bus shelters along the route closed on February 15.
Mniki said upon the awarding of the contract, construction of the bus shelters would take about eight months.
A tender for the supply of monitoring equipment for the buses has also been advertised.
There appeared to be confusion among officials after Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle, during his state of the province address last month, announced that the first phase of the bus system would start towards the end of last month.
“We can also report that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is finally going to proceed with the implementation of phase 1 of the [IPTS] with effect from February this year,” Masualle said in his address.
But the municipality’s political head of roads and transport Rano Kayser said he did not know where Masualle got the date, adding a report on the delays would be tabled at the council meeting on March 29.
Kayser said the R304.9-million allocated from the national government towards the IPTS would be used up until phase two of the project.
Masualle’s spokesman, Sonwabo Mbananga, could not be reached for comment.