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