Informal Disability Accessibility review of MyCiTi Bus Service
Natalie Johnson

Out and About with the Western Cape Network on Disability (fondly referred to as “The Network“).

With special thanks to Colette Fransolet for sponsoring this trip.

The Western Cape Network on Disability (The Network) conducted an informal disability accessibility review of the MyCiTi bus service on Thurs 16.05.2024 and noted the following points:

Wheelchair User – From Waterfront to Civic Centre, Cape Town and back again

  • Pavement at Waterfront did not have dropped curb. Eventually got to the MyCiTi stop by going a very long way
  • Driver tried to secure wheelchair with tethering system which was inadequate for large motorized wheelchair
  • Pay Station not very user friendly
Image: Picture of our Board member Anthony Ghillino in his motorised wheelchair going through the MyCiTi terminal at Civic Centre, Cape Town followed by his Carer Charmaine Swartz, on left of Charmaine is a friend of the Network Igor Rix wearing a Network branded white T-shirt

Person with Visual Impairment – from Salt River to Civic Centre, Cape Town and back again

  • Planning the trip – timetables and route maps online are completely inaccessible for a screenreader user – a real hassle to make sense of. I gave up and relied on a sighted colleague.
  • Audio announcements – the bust we took into the CBD had no audio guide announcing stops, while the one we took back did. Apparently these audio announcements do not always work, and sometimes are turned off because passengers complain. This audio guide is absolutely essential for me to access this service safely and it is really anxiety-provoking when it cannot be relied upon to work.
  • The Civic Centre terminal is difficult to navigate and very poorly lit – a challenge for those with low vision. While the staff member at the turnstile was very intuitive about how to assist me, how can I trust that this will be consistent across all staff?
  • many of the traffic lights around this area of Town were not giving an audio signal and those that were were very soft.
Image: Our Chairperson Dr Michelle Botha and her service dog on board the MyCiTi bus. Michelle is dressed in blue jeans, black boots and white Western Cape Network on Disabillity branded T-shirt with black long sleeved T-shirt under the white T-shirt. Service dog standing next to Michellle’s seat

Non-disabled person travelling with Visually Impaired person – from Salt River to Civic Centre, Cape Town and back again

  • Difficulty finding a place that sells MyCiTi bus cards if you are not a frequent MyCiTi bus user and if you’re not close to a station.
  • Audio announcements inconsistent
  • LED Screens initially did not work – could be the Bus Driver forgot to switch the screen on
  • Terminal at Civic Centre – poor lighting would also be a problem for someone with a hearing impairment if they are a lip reader
  • Ticket selling kiosk is supposed to be accessible for people with hearing impairments – there is a sign saying there is a Loop System present but we had no way of checking whether it was functional or not. The glass window between the ticket buyer and the person in the kiosk is very dark which is a barrier to communication.
  • Way finding (directions) – the entrance is not where you think it is. In a completely different place where there is no signage.
  • General bad access – ramps off pavements, dropped curbs that go into storm water drains etc

Non-disabled person travelling with the group who is a qualified Disability Accessibility Consultant – from Tableview to Civic Centre, Cape Town and back again

  • Audio announcements in the Table View station and onboard the bus was not available for persons with visual impairments.
  • The seating arrangements did not make provision for various user sizes to accommodate persons with obesity.
  • The steps to reach the rear seats have risers at more than 300 mm in height.
  • Where ramps are deployed, the damaged edges or corners of the ramp poses a trip and fall hazard
  • The cover of one of the door’s overhead operating mechanism was loose is a hazard to injury
  • Various images from the access routes outside the Civic Centre station which affects safe and continuous access to retail, commercial buildings and restaurants, etc.
  • Various residential areas are also partially connected to the designated stations in each area which discourage persons with impairments to use the BRT system as those with physical impairments, e.g. those with wheelchairs or powered mobility devices, are forced to travel in vehicular roadways as a result of not having adequate continuous accessible pathways which are connected to the stations.
  • The MyCity website presents many issues. 1. Planning a journey was troublesome due to the fact that the system does not offer the best route closest to your residence. Irrespective of whether you are out of the “footprint”, the system should still offer you the best route to connect you to your destination. How you reach the first point of entry to the designated departure station, is your decision to make. 2. The faded text of e.g., the  “From” , “TO”, ARRIVE”, is very light and persons with/without vision impairments will have find It difficult to read. 3. Words in All Upper Case should not be used as persons with intellectual impairments will find it difficult to read.
Image: The wide opening between the floor levels of the bus entrance and the station’s boarding platform respectively

The wide opening between the floor levels of the bus entrance and the station’s boarding platform respectively.

The average opening between the boarding platform and the bus entrance at all doors, during this trip was 200 mm -300 mm. This presents a serious hazard to injury.

The telescopic ramp mounted underneath the bus entrance was not deployed at any of the stops along the route. This was likely due to the fact that the floor level of the bus entrance was either level or partially below the boarding platform at the various stations along the route, and that the ramp can only be deployed when the boarding platform is lower than the bus entrance.

The steps connecting the arrival hall to the boarding and alighting platform at the MyCity Civic Centre station

The treads on these steps have no colour contrasting nosing strips to assist persons with vision impairments with navigating the steps.

Image: lady in front of ticket kiosk purchasing a ticket to board the MyCiTi bus. Picture shows how dark kiosk is inside and how much reflection on the glass making communication very difficult for those who lip read