This is the most congested city in South Africa, according to TomTom
Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa and the traffic level has risen by nearly ten percent over the last five years, new figures show.
TomTom’s annual traffic index also ranks Cape Town the 48th most congested city in the world, far worse than Johannesburg which comes in 70th.
Cape Town continues to battle with the number of vehicles on the road despite millions of rands worth of investment into public transport, cycle ways, carpool initiatives and road upgrades.
Marine Drive is the most delayed traffic hotspot in the city, according to the report. Closely behind is Bellville's Mike Pienaar Boulevard and Strand Road heading towards the Kuils River freeway.
The Tom Tom traffic index calculates extra travel time experienced by drivers every year. A congestion level of 35%, like with Cape Town - suggests it an average trip takes 35% longer than it would under uncontested conditions.
The report also found that Capetonians are forced to undergo delays of an average of 43 minutes every work day as traffic congestion increased five percent between 2015 and 2016.
“The traffic on Marine Drive drives me up the wall,” says commuter Maddy Strouse who lives in Table View. Maddy - a Personal Assistant - commutes to the city centre everyday and says it takes her about an hour each way.
“The queues start even in Table View and it’s just really slow all the way into town.”
The City’s transport department overhauled Cape Town’s most congested road Marine Drive in 2011 costing millions of rands. A new rapid bus service called MyCiti was also installed. Many feeder bus routes connect to the busway offering commuters a congestion free route into the city.
When asked why she still drives into work in her own car - Maddy said the bus is not convenient enough for her.
“I would have to drive to the nearest bus stop anyway as the feeder bus is not regular enough,” she said. “The bus trip all in all would be an hour and a half door to door, so it’s just not worth it.”
In a bid to further ease congestion, the City has invested a lot of money into cycling routes. Marine Drive has segregated cycle way joining the cities northern suburbs with the city centre. The cycle path follows the route the MyCiti bus all the way to town.
Leonie Mervis of Bicycle Cape Town says the path contains a crime hotspot, putting many potential cycle commuters off.
“There are a few hotspots, like on the route through Paarden Island which goes through an industrial area. There have been reports of bike-jackings,” says Mervis.
A Cape Town City Council spokesperson said the City hopes to tackle the grid lock with more investment into MyCiti.
Five new routes will be be rolled out over the next fifteen years and new park and ride facilities will be brought in at interchange stations.
“The five new corridors will serve at least five times the passengers that are currently traveling on the existing MyCiTi routes,” said Councillor Brett Heron of the City’s transport boss.
“It will connect some of the most disadvantaged communities to five major destinations – the Cape Town CBD, Bellville, Claremont, Wynberg and Century City.”
The City admits building new roads will not solve Cape Town’s traffic congestion. But, over the next five years, R750 million has been allocated for road projects.
"The stark reality remains, however, that we cannot build ourselves out of congestion and that constructing new roads only provides short-term relief,” says Heron.
“The City’s transport authority, is therefore also embarking on operational and behavioural interventions that will complement the infrastructure interventions that we have identified in our Congestion Management Programme."