The Transport Information Centre (TIC), hosted at the City of Cape Town’s Transport Management Centre in Goodwood, is the nerve cord for all transport-related queries and complaints in the city. Manned for 24 hours a day, the operators handle an average of 132 000 calls a month or 4 400 every day.

In spite of this high number of incoming phone calls, at least 90% are answered within 15 seconds or less. Even on the busiest day of the year – 16 December 2014 – when the TIC answered nearly 9 000 phone calls within a 24-hour time period, the average waiting time was just 12 seconds for each caller.

Generally speaking, Mondays and Fridays are the busiest weekdays at the TIC and Saturdays are the busiest days of the month, with the highest call volume between 08:00 and 16:00. ‘We are committed to providing world-class services to our residents and the TIC is pivotal in ensuring that we are a well-run city.

The TIC’s performance is outstanding and the call centre operators must be applauded as some of the callers are really frustrated by the time they phone the TIC for information or to lodge a complaint. It takes a special kind of person and some stamina to do this job, especially if one considers that the operators have only three seconds breathing space between calls,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron. Callers can be assisted in any of the province’s three official languages, be it Afrikaans, English or isiXhosa; however, according to the TIC’s customer statistics, most of them prefer English.

The majority of phone calls relate to queries about public transport as the TIC is able to provide information about the timetables, routes, fares and service disruptions across all modes of scheduled public transport in the city – from the MyCiTi bus service, to Cape Metrorail, Golden Arrow Bus Services and Dial-a-Ride.

‘The TIC also records complaints about the MyCiTi service and I want to urge commuters to report these to us so that we can improve our systems,’ says Councillor Herron. In addition, the TIC uses the MyCiTi Twitter and Facebook accounts to post information about public transport service disruptions or delays, special events, traffic signals, incidents on the highways that may be affecting traffic, and other useful information relating to the MyCiTi service. ‘Our social media platforms provide all the latest updates about transport-related incidents that may be affecting commuters, because the team at the TIC has direct access to real-time information. It is therefore a reputable and valuable source of information and I want to urge our residents and visitors to make use of it,’ says Councillor Herron.

Apart from managing the MyCiTi service and Dial-a-Ride, Transport for Cape Town (TCT) is also responsible for the city’s road network of 10 629 kilometres. Residents should therefore report potholes and faulty traffic lights or lodge complaints pertaining to road maintenance and stormwater with the TIC call centre operators.

A C3 fault reporting notification is generated for every complaint or pothole that a resident reports to the TIC and the complainant is issued with a reference number to track the progress. Using Google Maps, the call centre operators are able to locate the nearest TCT area depot, which then passes the report on to the responsible crew to resolve the complaint or to fix the pothole. ‘TCT relies on residents to be our eyes and ears on the ground, be it on a MyCiTi bus or in a private vehicle on our road network. We can only improve our service and our roads if you tell us about the shortcomings,’ says Councillor Herron.