Residents’ uphill battle with bus terminus

A long-distance bus picks up passengers at the terminus in Oakdale

Oakdale residents fed up with a noisy long-haul bus terminus in their suburb want to know when the City is going to move it to the Bellville CBD and make good on its promise that it would only be temporary.

The Northern News asked the City the same thing, as well as several other questions about the terminus in Mabel Street, but despite its media office confirming receipt of our emailed questions on Tuesday last week, we had still heard nothing by the time this edition went to print.

Residents say they have endured noise pollution from the terminus, including idling bus engines and loud PA announcements at all hours, for long enough.

The City gave permission for the “temporary” terminus in the residential area – and the property was rezoned from Limited Use Zone to Transport Zone 2 in 2015 — but it has now been there for some years.

Oakdale Watch chairman Tommy Milakovic said the bus terminus was surrounded by homes, and residents had to put up with the noise during pick-ups and drop-offs.

“The buses are there even on Sundays before 6am with engines running, and then there’s the noise of the people — obviously the residents are feeling frustrated,” Mr Milakovic said.

On top of that, residents also had to deal with bad driver behaviour, with vehicles often parked along the verge of the one-way in Mabel Street. Mr Milakovic said there were cars using the area where the buses exit to enter the one way.

“This exit is for the buses only.”

The watch recently posted a video on its Facebook page, showing a pick-up at about 6am on a Sunday, with several vehicles dropping off travellers and some parking on the verge along Mabel Street.

The property is being leased to the long-distance bus companies by Frans de Jongh, from Jumbo Tar Paving and Civils, who said he had different rental agreements with the bus companies. He said they had received noise complaints from residents and had posted signs prohibiting hooting and loud music.

“We are in continuous communication with one another to try and resolve these complaints,” he said.

Ward 3 councillor Brendan van der Merwe said his office had not received any complaints this year to date, but the watch had informed him of PA announcements disturbing nearby homeowners.

Several long-haul bus companies use the terminus and offices there.

Mr Van der Merwe said the site had a temporary zoning departure. He didn’t know if there were any stipulations about business hours.

Mr De Jongh said they had removed two of the four speakers and asked the bus companies to keep the volume down.

The City plans to move the terminus to an upgraded Bellville public transport interchange, but Mr Milakovic said he didn’t know when that would happen.

Mr De Jongh said both the proposed bus terminus in the Bellville CBD as well as the site of the temporary one were part of the City’s future transport plans for Bellville.

“The recently approved Tygerberg District Plan states that the realignment of Durban Road south of the N1 is likely to have a major impact on land uses along this part of the corridor and that the area between the existing Durban Road and the proposed realignment is proposed as a mixed-use intensification area. The intensity and scale of redevelopment is envisaged to be similar to that which is located along Durban Road north of the N1 freeway.

“Claims by the objectors that the area in the vicinity of the subject property has a residential character is not true. The subject property is located at the interface of existing commercial development along Durban Road and the low density residential area to the east. The character of much of this residential area will change dramatically over the medium term in accordance with the above-mentioned vision for the area. It is therefore not correct to state that the proposed development/lease is incompatible with the residential character of the area,” said Mr De Jongh.

Mr Milakovic said they were also concerned about the mess that was left behind by travellers and the lack of security.

“People are just leaving their rubbish everywhere. This has, of course, led to an increase in vagrancy. The bus stop should employ their own daily cleaners and not rely on council to keep the area clean. After all, it is a business that is surely profitable,” he said.

Mr De Jongh said two cleaners cleaned the area daily.

Mr Milakovic said having a proper terminus in Bellville CBD could uplift the area and attract investment, but only if it was managed properly.

Complaints relating to noise nuisance, traffic law infringements or any other City by-law infringements can be reported to 021 596 1999.