THE row between the city and Golden Arrow over the roll-out of MyCiTi bus routes continued yesterday, with the city lamenting the company’s decision to appeal against a Western Cape High Court ruling.

The company and the city have differed over the percentage Golden Arrow would get in two phases of the MyCiTi service and whether it was entitled to compensation for decommissioning its buses and some assets.

Golden Arrow took the city to court after negotiations between them failed, and wanted the matter mediated and arbitrated.

On April 26, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the city was reasonable in its negotiations.

In his ruling, Judge Bennie Griesel said if the city was compelled to go to mediation and arbitration it would make it impossible to fulfil its statutory mandate, as required by the National Land Transport Act, to take steps “as soon as possible” to integrate services into the larger public transport system.

On Friday, Golden Arrow lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“There is no doubt that Gabs (Golden Arrow Bus Services) is entitled to appeal the decision of the Western Cape High Court and we respect that right. We are, however, extremely disappointed by their decision,” mayco member for transport, roads and stormwater Brett Herron said.

He said the city was about to conclude 12-year contracts for MyCiTi operating companies Golden Arrow, Kidrogen and Transpeninsula and had planned to seek the council’s approval on May 29. Golden Arrow’s appeal could also affect conclusion of the contracts, Herron said.

“Three parties are sharing in the market, and if Golden Arrow’s share is increased it will affect the shares of the other two,” he said.

Golden Arrow’s appeal would be opposed, Herron said.

Golden Arrow general manager Francois Meyer said the company was disappointed with Herron’s statement, which implied the company tried to be obstructive.

“After careful deliberation of the judgment, Gabs has been advised that reasonable grounds exist for another court reaching a different conclusion on critical issues,” said Meyer.

He said the company’s appeal was on the interpretation of the National Land Transport Act .

“In particular, Gabs is concerned about the precedent that will be set in the future roll-out of the MyCiti services if the judgment handed down by Judge Griesel is upheld.

“The city tries to portray Gabs as being obstructionists against the implementation of the MyCiti concept and the provision of affordable and rapid transit links.

“This is devoid of the truth as the decision to appeal is based on sound senior legal advice and is in line with due legal process motivated by the need to achieve equitable public transport solutions in the City of Cape Town,” he said.

Cape Times – Aziz Hartley