Frequently asked questions

1. What is GO GEORGE?

It is a scheduled public transport service that is provided with a fleet of buses that is reliable, accessible, safe, and affordable for the people of George. GO GEORGE is the result of a partnership between the George Municipality, the Western Cape provincial government, the national Department of Transport and local taxi and bus operators from the George area. Branded GO GEORGE buses are operational across the city of George and will later also connect neighbouring towns.

2. Why was it decided to develop such a project?

National Government developed the vision of safe, reliable, accessible and affordable public transport systems across the country. Local government (municipalities and metros) have been tasked with setting up their own system, taking into account the requirements and circumstances that apply to the area itself. The aim is to make sure that more people have access to a more affordable form of transport that enables them to access a wider range of socio-economic opportunities. The project evolved from an intention to improve mobility on the Sandkraal Road (now Nelson Mandela Boulevard) corridor to the realisation that this was not really possible without a much better understanding of how public transport should be provided to the majority of the population who do not have access to a private car.

3. What is the benefit that GO GEORGE brings?

GO GEORGE makes safe, reliable, accessible, affordable and scheduled public transport a reality for the people who live and work in George. It connect communities, boost the economy and make George more attractive for businesses and investors. The fact that more people are able to travel across our city, means an improvement in the quality of life for everyone.

4. Will the GO GEORGE buses replace all other taxis and buses operating in and around George?

Yes and no. The introduction of bus services within the municipal area will be rolled out in phases and there will be limited minibuses operating in the future. Long-distance bus and taxi operations, and charter services, will not be affected.

5. Was the local transport industry involved in the design and development of this project?

Yes. Those taxi and bus operators with valid operating licenses were consulted right from the start. Numerous public engagements were held and all persons employed in the industry were called upon to register their names on an Affected Persons Register. 100% of the shareholders of the Vehicle Operating Company (VOC) called George Link (Pty) Ltd, are/were local taxi and bus operating license holders.

6. How/where were drivers sourced?

Drivers are employed by George Link, the VOC, and are all sourced from the Affected Persons Register. Drivers receive advanced driver training, specific product training to understand the features of the bus as well as other operational training before they are appointed as employees.

7. What do the buses look like?

Different sizes buses are operating on the different routes rolled out by GO GEORGE. Bigger buses will operate on the main routes, while smaller buses will be deployed on routes in residential neighbourhoods. On the larger buses there will be space for luggage and other items such as prams. Buses will also have bays where wheelchairs can be safely docked, while priority seating is made available for the elderly, for pregnant women, and for other people who have a need for seating on a bus.

8. What routes will be activated, and how much of George will be covered?

Eventually the entire George municipal area will be serviced with a network of routes that will ensure that the majority of the urban population of George will be within a 5- to 10-minute walk from a bus route. In the future, routes will be developed to serve to rural farming areas, and link to the neighbouring towns of Knysna, Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn. The website will have more information as the system grows.

9. How many bus stops and routes will be developed?

Over the course of GO GEORGE’s initial implementation, a total of 28 basic routes with more than 700 stops are scheduled to be brought into operation.

10. When will the service be fully rolled out?

In December 2014, the first phase kicked off, which saw the activation of four routes (Loerie Park to CBD, Rosemoor to Garden Route Mall, Denneoord to CBD, and CBD to the Garden Route Mall, which will become the CBD to Wilderness service in future). At the end of February 2015, Phase 2 started, with routes in and between Blanco, Heatherlands and Heather Park as well as a reduced City Loop route. Phase 3 was activated in May 2015 and saw routes rolled out to Pacaltsdorp, Rosedale, Syferfontein, the industrial areas and once again the Garden Route Mall. These routes all interlink with one another. The central point, but not the only transfer location, is the hub in Cradock Street, referred to as the ‘CBD’ in route descriptions, where most routes will intersect. It is hoped that all routes will be activated before the end of 2016, but this depends on a number of factors. The inter-town services will come later.

11. Is GO GEORGE the same as MyCiti in Cape Town and Reya Vaya in Johannesburg?

In some ways, yes, although each project has its own unique elements. The GO GEORGE system relies on a public transport bus service that uses the same roadway space as other vehicles. The MyCiti and Rea Vaya systems’ main routes operate on dedicated lanes with closed bus stations that only their buses may use. All three systems are referred to as Integrated Public Transport projects, with a varying dependence on other types of transport, such as rail for example.

12. What is BRT and IRT?

In essence, both terms refer to new public transport systems being developed around the world. BRT means ‘bus rapid transit’ where a public transport system makes use of dedicated bus lanes. IRT is ‘integrated rapid transit’ where a system makes use of BRT and the integration of different types of transport modes e.g. rail, buses and taxis. In the GO GEORGE case, no ‘BRT’ priority lanes are provided at this stage

13. Where does the money for this project come from?

Funding is received from all three spheres of government with the major funding from national and provincial governments.

14. Vacancies

GO GEORGE is currently not in a position to advertise any vacancies. During negotiations before the roll-out of the bus service, it was agreed that a register of those people from the minibus taxi industry who had been affected by the transformation of the local public transport network, would be created, and that those registered on this Affected Person Register (APR) would be considered for vacancies first.

1. How much does a ticket cost, and how is the cost calculated?

A single ticket bought off bus from vendors currently costs R9.00, and a ticket bought on the bus costs R10.00. This price difference was implemented to encourage passengers to buy their tickets before boarding a bus. This will save time and enable the system to stay on schedule. Multi-journey tickets (valid for 10 trips) cost R85.00. The buses will run on a distance-based fare system and the fare is linked to the minimum wage of a domestic worker as determined by the Department of Labour. The fare calculation takes into account the capacity of an urban domestic worker (minimum wage) to afford the cost of public transport, based upon national objectives that no more than a certain percentage of an individual’s monthly income should be spent on transport. All the routes implemented thus far fall within the shortest (15km) distance band, and will thus be charged at either R9.00 or R10.00 (unless a multi-journey ticket is purchased). For trips longer than 15km, a 5km incremental fare increase will be applicable. This is a government-subsidised fee, and not the real cost of travel, and will be adjusted annually.

2. How do I buy a ticket? And can I pay with my debit card?

Single tickets can be bought with cash only on board any GO GEORGE bus. Passengers are requested to keep the exact amount (R10.00) ready when they buy tickets on the bus, to make the driver’s task easier and to save time. Multi-journey tickets (MJTs) as well as single tickets can be purchased at authorised outlets and mobile vendors for a reduced amount (see point 1).  If the ticket vendor offers card facilities, you may be able to use a debit card to buy your tickets. To travel on the bus, every passenger needs his/her own ticket. There are plans to implement a smartcard payment system in the future.

3. Can my children travel with me on my ticket?

No, each passenger requires his/her own ticket. If your child is 4 years or older, they will need their own ticket.

4. What is a multi-journey ticket?

The cheaper and convenient GO GEORGE multi-journey ticket is sold at registered ticket vendors all over town, and by mobile vendors. This ticket currently costs R85.00 and is valid for 10 bus trips (within 30 days from date of first activation, and for 1 hour after activation within a radius of 15km). This is a saving of 50c per trip, compared to the single-journey ticket which costs R9.00 when bought off bus, and R1.50 when compared to the single ticket bought on the bus (R10.00, cash only). The added convenience of the multi-journey ticket is that you buy once for a period of time, don’t have to carry cash, and it speeds up the boarding process on the bus.

See the multi-journey ticket vendors

1. What hours are the buses operating?

Buses operate about 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Frequencies (how often the bus will pass) will depend on passenger demand, with more buses during peak times. At present, certain trips are starting around 05:00 in the morning and the service ends around 21:00. View the timetables, or you may phone our Call Centre on 0800 044 044 where well-informed agents are available from 05:00 – 21:30 to help.

2. I have a car – why do I need to rather use a GO GEORGE bus?

Public transport is kinder to the environment, and is more cost effective than operating a private vehicle, reduces traffic congestion and delays the need to upgrade the capacity of the existing road infrastructure.

3. Where can I get onto a GO GEORGE bus?

Look for bus stops on routes around town. Stand at a stop and raise your hand to indicate to the driver to stop. Make sure to stop the right bus, as there are sometimes several routes using the same bus stop.

4. Are the buses safe and reliable?

Yes. GO GEORGE has drawn up a Passenger Charter as a commitment to service quality towards passengers, read the Charter here. Bus drivers will be expected to always drive considerately and within the law. Because the service needs to adhere to timetables, the bus travelling speed will be limited, and will be automatically monitored by means of a tracking system. Failure to comply will result in the bus operator incurring financial penalties. Our buses are serviced regularly and have closed-circuit TV cameras and panic buttons on board, and the law enforcement agencies in George all co-operate to ensure your safety at all times.

5. May I take my pets on board? And what about large items of luggage?

Only assistive pets (such as guide dogs) are allowed. Luggage is allowed, as long as you can control it by yourself, it fits on your lap and it doesn’t inconvenience others.

6. May I play my music on board a bus? And eat my lunch?

No, eating or drinking is not allowed. As a matter of courtesy and as a sign of respect towards others, you should please make use of your headphones if listening to music. Please don’t do anything on a bus that would inconvenience others or cause them discomfort or offence. Make sure you are familiar with the GO GEORGE rules of carriage, which are put in place to make sure that everyone enjoys their journey. Passengers may be fined for ignoring these rules. Copies of these rules are displayed in every bus, as well as on Conditions of carriage page.

7. Can people in wheelchairs and people with special needs also make use of GO GEORGE buses?

Yes. The system is developed to be as universally accessible as possible to all users, so specific design changes have been made to make sure that it is as easy as possible for passengers with special categories of need to use the service. Near-level boarding from bus stops to the larger buses is available, while the smaller minibus has a hoist to provide access. Tactile paving has been provided at the bus stops to assist partially sighted people, and reserved spaces on board all buses have been provided to accommodate mobility devices such as wheelchairs, some scooters and other walking aids. George is currently the only city in South Africa that has a fully accessible bus fleet.

8. What does it mean to transfer between buses to reach my destination?

GO GEORGE is a network. Depending on where you are going, you may need to transfer from one bus to another to reach your destination. It is important to get to know where the routes intersect so you can plan your transfers. It is crucial that you plan your trip using the GO GEORGE maps and timetables before embarking on a journey. You can transfer anywhere that routes meet, but there are convenient transfer points shown on the system map. When you leave a bus at a transfer point, check to see if you are at the right bus stop for the next leg of your trip. You may have to walk across the road to catch the correct bus going in the right direction. Each ticket is valid for one hour from the time you have it stamped to the time you board a bus to your final destination, where you must show it to the driver so that the time stamp can be checked. Transfers are free if your ticket is still valid. By transferring between buses, you help us to make the system more efficient and to keep the fares at an affordable level. If you are unsure about where to change to another route, ask your driver, or phone our Call Centre on 0800 044 044 to help you plan your route before you go to the bus stop.

9. What is a bidirectional route?

All routes are fundamentally bidirectional – they go both ways. However, in the context of our descriptions, the term applies particularly to those routes that go around in loops. A bidirectional loop means that you can get on the bus on either side of the road, anywhere on the route, and will eventually land up back where you started. The idea is that, as a passenger, you can decide which direction will get you to your destination the quickest – but both directions will get you to that destination.

10. Why do I sometimes need to stand on the bus while others are seated?

During peak travel demand periods, passengers are encouraged to stand as this will help you reach your destination sooner, rather than you waiting for the next bus to arrive. A midi- or standard size bus is not full until all the seats are taken AND full standing capacity has been reached. The permitted number of seated and standing passengers is displayed in each bus. Drivers are obligated to stop at all bus stops on their routes until their buses are full, if there are passengers waiting to board. Failure to pick up waiting passengers while the bus has not reached full capacity is inconsiderate, unacceptable and an infringement of the GO GEORGE contract terms. While the Operating Company could incur a penalty should this happen, a failure to fill buses adds to the cost of providing the service, and possibly to the cost of your ticket. Standing is permitted on the lower part of the bus floor in the midi- and standard buses, but not allowed in minibuses.

11. Where can I get more information or comment on GO GEORGE?

Your feedback on the GO GEORGE service is valuable to us and may be considered for possible improvements or amendments to our system, to ensure that we deliver an efficient service. We want to encourage you to phone the GO GEORGE Call Centre (toll free from a landline) on 0800 044 044 from 05:00 till 21:30 (seven days a week), where well-informed agents will gladly assist you, send an email to info@gogeorge.org.za, or you can also like the GO GEORGE Facebook page and stay up to date with daily news and notifications about the system.