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27 August 2014

The first Green Taxi Rank is built by the City of Cape Town

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On 25 August 2014, ICLEI Member City Cape Town unveiled South Africa’s first green taxi rank. It operates entirely off the electricity grid, as it generates its own electricity, and it derives all the facility’s water (besides drinking water) from rooftop rainwater harvesting and recycling.

As a transport facility, the Wallacedene taxi rank is unique, as it is the first public transport facility in South Africa to be considered an entirely “green” building. This means that it saves enormous amounts of water through its design, and is self-sufficient in its energy needs.

In terms of water, it was necessary to bear in mind the enormous water needs of such facilities – especially for the washing of the vehicles. Considering the use of potable water for this purpose to be a huge waste, the architects used techniques for harvesting rainwater and recycling the majority of the water used at the facility. The taxi rank is thus effectively self-sufficient in most of its basic water needs.

In terms of electricity – from its lighting to its electronic gates – the facility uses a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel system, which is mounted on its roof and set at the best angle to the sun. This is combined with a large set of batteries that store the accumulated electricity for nights and for especially overcast days. A consumption meter will also indicate the facility’s usage and overall situation at any given time.

The transport hub had previously been operating from a patch of vacant land nearby, with no proper infrastructure or even protection from the rain for the commuters. There are now a range of services incorporated into the facility, including informal trading bays and kiosks for trading opportunities, loading bays for the operators, benches for waiting commuters, flush toilets and even recycling bins.

It is estimated that around 5000 people will be using the facility daily. At the unveiling of the facility, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Councillor Brett Heron said: “The City of Cape Town is extremely proud to be at the forefront of combining intelligent architectural design and technology in our effort to improve service delivery to our residents. The Wallacedene taxi rank sets the benchmark for future public transport facilities in the country, showcasing the City’s commitment to conservation and innovation”.

For more information, please visit the press release on the City of Cape Town website.

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