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About Dial-a-Ride

What is Dial-a-Ride?

Dial-a-Ride (DAR) is a public transport service for people with disabilities who – due to the nature of their disability – are unable to board and/or alight from mainstream public transport such as trains, buses and minibus taxis for their daily commute between home and work.

Created exclusively for this purpose, DAR is an effort to provide eligible persons with a public transport option that although limited, enables them to become economically active, self-supporting and independent. This allows businesses to employ people with disabilities who would otherwise not be able to travel to and from the workplace.

DAR serves as a bridging measure until mainstream public transport becomes universally accessible.

When does the service operate?

Seven days a week between 06:00 and 19:00.

Who may use Dial-a-Ride?

The DAR service is exclusively for those individuals with physical disabilities that render them physically unable to board and alight from mainstream public transport to commute between home and work. Formal classification as being disabled does not necessarily make a person eligible to be registered to use the service. To qualify to use this service, prospective passengers are required to complete a registration form and undergo a formal assessment by an independent occupational therapist. See “registration process” for more details.

Who may NOT use Dial-a-Ride?

  • People who are able to board and/or alight from mainstream public transport
  • Persons with intellectual disabilities that may affect their ability to travel independently
  • People with disabilities living in old-age homes and/or care centres unless formally employed
  • Those with disabilities wanting to be transported for purposes other than work, such as social or medical reasons etc.
  • Scholars and students/learners
  • Passengers making private trips

Organisations supporting disabled individuals (such as children, the elderly, those with intellectual disabilities, needing medical care or attending educational institutions) have fundraising options such as applying for corporate sponsorships, National Lottery grants and/or to the national departments of Health, Education and Social Services to assist with their transport needs. These options are not available to those who could be economically active.

Where does Dial-a-Ride operate?

DAR operates only within the City of Cape Town’s municipal boundaries, on routes served by mainstream public transport.

Routes and service

DAR supplements existing mainstream public transport services by providing accessible commuter transport on existing routes. Currently DAR is provided from the nearest point at the kerbside closest to the booked point of pick-up or drop-off where safe to do so.

DAR is provided only if there are enough registered passengers to justify a trip on a particular route. The minimum demand for a route is two registered persons.

In future, the service will be provided only on existing public transport routes, and at existing public transport stops (formal bus/taxi stops and rail stations), where it is safe to board and alight from the DAR vehicles.

Pick-up and drop-off times

DAR uses normal traffic lanes, and is therefore subject to normal traffic delays. A pick-up and drop-off window period of 15 minutes before and after the scheduled time applies. However, should the vehicle arrive 30 minutes after the scheduled time, the passenger may lodge a complaint through the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63. They will receive a reference number and their query will be investigated.

It is important to note that any change in traffic flow or volume, roadworks, construction and/or an incident on the roads may negatively impact the vehicles’ arrival times. The DAR service provider is required to contact the passenger should an event occur that may significantly delay the arrival of the vehicle.

What will DAR cost me?

DAR is a heavily subsidised service, but the cost to the passenger is equivalent to the mainstream public transport fare on that particular route.

Charter/hire/special trips

DAR is not available for special trips as it is highly subsidised and for the daily home-work commute only. However, the operator of the DAR service may be privately contracted to provide a charter or hire service for special events. This will not be subsidised and the cost is to be negotiated between the two parties.

What is happening to the service and why?

In order to comply with national legislation and to maximise economic opportunities for people with physical disabilities (that prevent them from using mainstream public transport in their daily home-work commute) the service must operate on a route basis. Whilst not immediate, this change will happen towards the second half of 2011.

Who should register?

All previously issued registration numbers will expire on 31 December 2010. This means that all current passengers and anyone wishing to use the service must complete and submit new application forms. This should be done without delay as only those with new registration numbers (i.e. applied, assessed and issued with a number) may be transported from 1 January 2011 depending on route availability.

Does registration for the service guarantee transport?

Unfortunately not. A registration number only confirms that a person qualifies to be transported. Transport cannot be guaranteed and depends on availability. A registered passenger can only be transported if:

  • There is a route that can accommodate him/her
  • A seat is available on that route
  • He/she has made a booking

Registration process

Step 1: Complete the Application Form, either online or in print. Alternatively, application forms are available:
Step 2: Submit the completed application form:
Step 3: The City will capture printed application forms electronically, which might delay the process. Electronically submitted applications will receive an application number which should be retained for reference purposes. Once printed applications have been captured electronically, the application number will be forwarded via SMS.

Step 4: The DAR Manager will conduct an initial screening of applications against the qualifying criteria. Applicants who do not meet the criteria will be informed accordingly.

Step 5: All applicants who pass the initial screening will have to undergo an assessment by an independent occupational therapist. The applicant will be contacted to arrange such an assessment and the City will make travel arrangements, if required.

Step 6: The occupational therapist will assess the applicant, and report back to the City. The City will inform the applicant of the outcome.

Step 7: Qualifying applicants will receive a registration number (valid for one year). This registration does not guarantee that they will be transported. Transport is based on:
  • Routes being available to serve your transport need and the demand for such a route
  • Space available on vehicle(s) allocated to a particular route
  • The service being able to accommodate the requested times

Why must applicants be assessed by an occupational therapist?

Applicants must be assessed by an occupational therapist order to confirm his or her (in)ability to board and/or alight from mainstream public transport.

My address has changed. Now what?

1. I am being transported but my home/work address has changed.
Registered passengers with a slot cannot be guaranteed transport should they change their time slot or pick-up or drop-off locations. Please advise the City as soon as possible of any such change. Check with the DAR operator whether the area you are moving to is served by a DAR route with space available.

2. I am not currently being transported but am registered and my home/work address has changed.
Please advise the City as soon as possible of any such change. Also contact the DAR operator to enquire whether the area you are moving to is served by a DAR route with space available.
NB: The City must be informed of all address changes.

I have not used the service for a month or more. Now what?

1. I had a planned absence and informed the DAR operator that I would not be using the service for a specific time.
During your planned and notified period of absence, another registered passenger may be allocated your slot on a temporary basis until your return.

2. I did not inform the DAR operator that I would not be using the service for a specific time.
This slot will be given to another registered passenger and you will return to the waiting list. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will be accommodated.

I have not used the service for a year. Now what?

Your registration will have lapsed and you will therefore be required to reapply and be re-assessed. You will be informed of the outcome of your application as soon as possible.

Where can I lodge my compliments or complaints? 

The City has a 24/7 toll-free transport information centre which is not linked to the DAR public transport service operator. Passengers may compliment or lodge complaints about the service on 0800 65 64 63 or e-mail  They will receive a reference number and the City will investigate and take action, where necessary.

© City of Cape Town, 2016