Coast KZN

02 Dec 2017

Durban’s shuttle service plan for busy Beachfront

Arthi Gopi (Independent on Saturday)

Durban beachgoers will be able to shuttle up and down the beachfront these holidays as the city implements a new park and ride system ahead of the festive season rush.

eThekwini deputy mayor Fawzia Peer revealed some of the city’s plans this week at a provincial meeting of law enforcement agencies, convened by the KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda.

Full details of the city’s festive season plans are expected to be released soon.

“We have learnt from previous festive seasons, and this year officials have managed to put on paper what we want to do at the beachfront, taking into consideration hazards and threats. But we also want people to feel free to come to the beachfront and enjoy themselves responsibly,” said Peer.

This festive season, which officially kicked off on Friday, is expected to draw about 1.3 million holidaymakers to the city, with many Durban and uMhlanga hotels nearing capacity.

This year, eThekwini wants residents to make use of designated parking areas located near the beachfront, such as the old Natal Command site, the old Durban Drive-In site, and the parking lot at the Durban Jewish Club.

“At these sites, there will be shuttle services on hand ?to take people to the part of ?the beachfront they want to go to,” said Peer, adding ?that discussions on whether the shuttles would be free ?were ongoing. The People Mover bus will also be running along the beachfront and people can make use of those as well, she said.

The aim of the plan was to reduce vehicle congestion near the beachfront, and the use of the shuttles would also decrease the numbers of people walking on the roads.

“Booms will only come down if and when necessary but we are trying to not use the booms,” she said.



Beachfront residents are expected to apply for permits, and hotel guests will be able to show e-mailed confirmation of their hotel booking and will be allowed through, if the booms are down.

“We want to make things easier for our hospitality industry as well, for their guests and visitors,” she said.

Bathing hours for swimmers have been extended by an hour, until 7pm. “We’ve had complaints from people before that the sun is still out at 7pm yet they cannot swim, so we have decided to increase (the time) by an hour. We have 92 lifeguards on duty to handle the crowds,” she said.

“We want people to have freedom of movement and to enjoy the space, but at the same time we don’t want people to misbehave. If (officials) see any drinking or bottles, they will confiscate them,” she said.

Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendant Parbhoo Sewpersadh said officers, as part of their normal duties, would conduct roadblocks, ensure visible policing and monitor popular spots such as Blue Lagoon, Westbrook beach, Tongaat beach and Anstey’s beach, among many others.

Yvonne Badenhorst of the South Beach Urban Improvement Precinct’s (UIP) security cluster, said they welcomed the plans for the beachfront, and hoped residents and visitors would adhere to all by-laws.

“It’s not a prison-style system any more. This time around, law enforcement spoke to everyone concerned and we are happy. Previously, moms with kids had to walk long distances from the boomgates in the hot sun to where they wanted to go on the beach. Now at least they will be able to make use of the shuttle system. Residents who belong to the UIP have also welcomed the plans. I feel metro police are all hands on board, and our lifeguards also deserve praise.”

Kaunda, speaking at what he called the first-of-its-kind meeting of all law enforcement agencies, said an integrated festive season safety plan had been developed.

“The plan will ensure increased visibility and sustainability in all corners of the province. We must make law-breakers feel the presence and might of the law. The plan is mainly focusing on integrated planning and forges co-operation across all law enforcement agencies and role-players, including other agencies and municipalities.”