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Tag: Traffic

As a programmer, I am no stranger to projects that have ended up being late and/or over budget. Every programmer can tell you the horror stories. But being R3 billion over budget even blows me away.

I am talking about the new Bus Rapid Transit system that Cape Town is building to help ease traffic congestion, and provide some infrastructure for the Soccer World Cup next year.

The original plan was to have four phases, to be completed by 2020, and costing about R10 billion in total. Phase one, which is due to be completed by mid next year, was forecast to cost R1.4 billion.

Construction has been going on for a while now, severely affecting my route home from work every day, and causing taxi drivers to protest about the extra competition.

Well, recently it turned out that someone had miscalculated the budget, and a scaled down version of phase one would cost R2.35 billion. That is almost double the money for a much smaller project than originally intended. I then heard today that the budget had grown to R4.2 billion!

How on earth does a project like this end up costing 3 times as much as the original estimate resulting in being R3 billion over budget?

And if you want to know how much the extra cost is going to cost an average Capetonian? There are according to Wikipedia, about 3.5 million people living in Cape Town, which means that the extra budget amounts to R850 per PERSON in Cape Town. I think that puts it a little bit more into perspective….

You can read more at News24.


I follow the tweets of @RyanOConnorSA, who is a breakfast show DJ on KFM, a radio station in Cape Town. Well, he retweeted a story posted on The tweet rang a bell of an incident which happened to me several months ago, so checking out the link, I was most surprised to find that the incident was the exact same incident which I was witness to.

A rather sad looking Aston Martin

A rather sad looking Aston Martin

It all began on a blisteringly hot summers day in Johannesburg, in mid-December 2008. I was up there for the day, for a business meeting with some clients for a software project, and so, Mark, my boss at the time (who is also a good friend), his wife, another colleague, Greg, and myself left his house, which serves as his office, and drove up to Sandton for the meeting in two cars. Mark and his wife in one, and myself and Greg in the other.

We each went different routes, and a few block from our destination we got a phone call from Mark saying that he had been in an accident, and within a few minutes arrived on the scene.

It seemed like chaos there. A top of the range Aston Martin DBS had crashed into Mark and in wife in their Chevy Spark, and 5 other cars while they were waiting a red traffic light coming off the M1 highway.

There was loose gravel on the road, and the Aston Martin was coming too fast and skidded.

The real twist in the tale is that the Aston Martin was out on a test drive. Someone’s insurance was going to be rather peeved about this little accident.

Me getting some stuff out of my friend's Spark

Me getting some stuff out of my friend's Spark

Fortunately no-one was seriously injured in the accident, although things could have certainly been worse. The back seat of Mark’s Chevy Spark was quite compacted, and before we left I toyed with the idea of driving with them. If I had I would have been sitting on that compacted back seat.


Yesterday, there was an accident on the N1 highway out of central Cape Town, that ended up causing every route out of the city centre to be clogged up with traffic. The accident had happened at 10am, and the road was only reopened after 4pm, thus causing rush hour to be a nightmare. I got caught in that traffic and did not even go anywhere near the spot where the accident happened.

I would like to know, how can a city be designed where if one of the routes out of the city has a problem, the rest of the city comes to a standstill. True, the N1 is one of the main arterials out of the city, but off the top of my head, I can think of at least three or four alternative routes to avoid the area. The problem comes in that all of Cape Town’s roads are so near full capacity that any additional pressure on any of those routes causes those routes to be pushed over the limits and causing tens of thousands of commuters to have elevated blood pressure.

Our traffic problems are not helped by the myriad of road works in progress, and even the usefulness of the planned Bus Rapid Transit system, which would be the first real public transport which would work, is in doubt. Last week taxi drivers once again striked about the BRT and want the project canned. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Local government needs to do something to address our road system…..perhaps we, as Capetonians, ought to strike to get some improvement rather than strike to get rid of any improvements.