Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) is offering a reward of R50 000 to anyone with information on the recent attacks on its buses. Buses have been petrol-bombed, and four were set alight in June alone.
Passengers also fell victim to armed robbers on several occasions and as a result GABS introduced a Transport Enforcement Unit to ensure that bus routes are safer.
A group of 20 officers were appointed through the Expanded Public Works Programme in September to patrol buses along routes identified by GABS. The project is funded entirely by Golden Arrow.
Officers are mandated to conduct search and seizure operations on buses and at bus terminals in the interest of commuter safety, and to enforce relevant by-laws.
They have already identified hotspot areas in consultation with GABS, and these are patrolled on a regular basis.
To date, officers have made six arrests for various offences, including possession of dangerous weapons, drugs and even a suspect who was caught illegally connecting electricity as officers were passing by the Freedom Park Informal Settlement near Bishop Lavis.
Among the items confiscated were a gas pistol, dagga, four knives and a pair of scissors, as well as a bottle of brandy. The minor who was caught consuming the alcohol was also removed from the bus.
Officers have also provided security to passengers and bus drivers on two occasions, where one vehicle had a flat tyre and the other engine problems; and also assisted a motorist who ran out of petrol along AZ Berman Drive in the early hours of the morning.
“It’s only been a few weeks, and already the officers are making an impact – not only on the buses, but also in general enforcement, and assistance to the public. As they continue to find their rhythm, I have no doubt that the number of successes will increase for the benefit of bus commuters as well as the public in general. It is critical that we make public transport a safe and viable option for residents, if we are going to make a serious dent in the paralyzing traffic congestion that has become part of life in Cape Town and that is why this partnership between the City and Golden Arrow is so important,” said Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.
According to Golden Arrow, passengers have responded positively to the deployment of the Unit.
“The feedback that has been received from passengers thus far has been very encouraging and we would like to request that passengers continue to provide their full co-operation to the team,” said General Manager Derick Meyer.