If all goes according to plan, residents and visitors to Cape Town will soon be able to make use of tuk-tuk vehicles to travel short distances within the city and surrounding suburbs. 
 
The tender for the provision of tuk-tuk public transport services was issued on Friday 15 April 2016 by Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority.
 
‘We want to use this tender process to appoint public transport operators who will operate 80 tuk-tuk vehicles across eight areas in Cape Town and the far south. The tuk-tuk vehicles are intended for those wanting to travel short distances of 3 km or less to local destinations. The people who will make use of the tuk-tuk vehicles are those who do not necessarily want to make use of a metered taxi service, but also do not want to walk 2 or 3 km to their destination,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
 
The eight initial areas where the tuk-tuk vehicles will be allowed to operate are as follows:
 
Fresnaye and Bantry Bay
Sea Point
Green Point
Bo-Kaap and De Waterkant
Tamboerskloof
Walmer Estate, University Estate, Zonnebloem and District Six
Kalk bay, St James and Fish Hoek
Simon’s Town
 
‘We will make 80 operating licences available, but we have not decided as yet how many tuk-tuk vehicles will be allowed to operate in each area. Also, even though the outcome of the tender process will determine the number of operators to be appointed, the City will not appoint more than eight successful bidders,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
Preference will be given to those tenderers who will make use of electric vehicles.
 
‘The City is committed to limiting carbon emissions. This is why we have issued a tender for the acquisition of electric buses for the MyCiTi bus service. Bidders with environmentally friendly tuk-tuks will therefore receive bonus points during the bidding process,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
The tender will be a commercial services contract, meaning the successful bidder(s) will be responsible for setting up the service, the operational costs for providing the service, and will be paid directly by the commuter for the service rendered.
 
‘We will support the issuing of 80 licences, but will not subsidise the service in any way,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
Furthermore, the tuk-tuk operators will have to comply with service standards and licence conditions – for example, they will not be allowed to transport commuters along any of the MyCiTi routes during the times that the MyCiTi service is operational.
 
‘In fact, ideally we would like to see the tuk-tuk vehicles transporting commuters to their nearest MyCiTi station or stop from where they will be able to board a bus to complete their journey. Potential tuk-tuk operators will have to submit a business plan and in those areas where the MyCiTi service is operating they should indicate how they intend to operate the tuk-tuks in support of the MyCiTi service,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
A tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled motor vehicle designed or modified for transporting not more than three seated persons, including the driver.
The tuk-tuk operators will have to comply with strict operating conditions, including that:
 
all tuk-tuk drivers must be in possession of a public transport driving licence
drivers should receive special training on the local geography and customer etiquette
vehicles must undergo an inspection for safety and operational capabilities – body parts, load capacity, tyres, brake equipment, etc.
a tuk-tuk may not transport more than three seated persons, inclusive of the driver, children younger than 13 must be accompanied by an adult the distance of the trip may not exceed 3 km • the maximum speed is 30 km/h
the service will be limited to one area or neighbourhood only, with dedicated route descriptions
tuk-tuks may not transport commuters along MyCiTi routes and minibus-taxi routes during the operating hours of these public transport services an operating licence will be withdrawn with immediate effect if the vehicle standards are not met, the vehicle is overloaded, and when it is operating on an illegal route
tuk-tuks may use normal road facilities for parking, loading and driving
tuk-tuks will not be permitted on important arteries with heavy traffic and where vehicles usually travel at higher speeds, such as Nelson Mandela Boulevard, FW de Klerk Boulevard, Kloof Nek Road, Keizersgracht, De Waal Drive, Roeland Street, Kommetjie Road, Glencairn Expressway and Ou Kaapse Weg
the fares charged should be in accordance with the City’s fares policy for contracted road-based public transport
‘All of the tuk-tuk vehicles will have to be equipped with a GPS tracking device, fitted to a web-based tracking system where the tuk-tuk’s movements will be shown in real-time and from which we can draw historic information. The City must have access to this system so that we can ensure that the operators stick to their routes as indicated by their operating licences,’ said Councillor Herron.
If the tender process goes according to plan and the City receives responsive bids, the tuk-tuk vehicles may be operating as from 1 September 2016 in time for the peak summer period.
 
‘The operators will be contracted for a period of 36 months. However, we will undertake a full review of the services after 30 months so that we can determine the success and shortcomings of the tuk-tuk services in general. This is the first time ever that Cape Town will have legal tuk-tuk services operating on our roads and we therefore want to ensure that it meets the expectations of the commuters, operators and the City,’ said Councillor Herron.
 

Prospective bidders will be required to submit a comprehensive business plan to TCT as part of the bidding process. Also, interested bidders are advised to attend a compulsory briefing session from 09:00 until 11:00 on Tuesday 3 May 2016 at the Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard (Boardroom E-1, 2-Bay Side, on the 18th Floor).