The large-scale replacement of unscheduled minibus-taxi services with scheduled bus rapid transit trunk-feeder networks in South African cities, as envisioned in the 2007 Public Transport Strategy, has proven costly and difficult to achieve. Consequently some agencies are exploring the prospects of hybrid networks comprised of scheduled trunk services and unscheduled feeder/distributor services, as a means of achieving a more feasible public transport reform. The operational compatibility of unscheduled feeder/distributor services and scheduled trunk services, however, has not received much research attention. The aim of this paper is to investigate how compatible unscheduled feeder/distributor services and scheduled trunk services might be in the context of the Mitchells Plain public transport interchange in Cape Town. The licensed routes operating out of the Hazeldene minibus-taxi rank serve a catchment area for the train and line-haul bus services that arrive at, and depart from, the interchange. Three main sources of empirical data are used in this case study investigation: seven months of vehicle departure records (n=4,024) obtained from the Hazeldene taxi rank; a five-day passenger transfer survey (n=6,400); and an 11-day vehicle stopping survey (n=1,375). Analysis of these data reveal that, while mean paratransit service headways fluctuate considerably and consistently across the day and from day to day (indicating that paratransit operators are responsive to fluctuations in demand), the limitations of the data prevent detailed analysis of how this impacts passenger transfer time. There is, however, clear evidence that the daily operating hours of unscheduled and scheduled services do not match. It is therefore concluded that, in this case, there are complementarity problems between unscheduled feeder/distributor and scheduled trunk services, and that mitigating public sector intervention is required.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.