GO GEORGE has announced that construction work on the first 30 permanent shelters for the GO GEORGE bus service has started this week. These structures will bring some welcome relief from the typical unpredictable weather conditions experienced in George.
“Of course we would have preferred to present our passengers with all of these facilities from the first roll-out of the system,” says James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager, “but since all routes start out as trial routes while we monitor passenger needs and usage patterns, it would not be cost effective to put up an expensive permanent shelter at a stop, just to move it again a while later, at huge cost, when the routes are refined.”
The bus stops getting permanent shelters were selected according to the types of buses stopping there (sprinters or larger buses), the number of routes using the stop, frequency of trips, proximity to shops and places of interest and employment, the type of bus stop (kerb or road side) and the physical condition of the road and pavement. A further consideration is the number of passengers using the particular stop. Bus shelters will continue to be erected in batches over a period of time, as budget allows.
The bus shelter itself is a durable, low-maintenance structure made from galvanised steel, designed in a modular fashion so as to allow for additional extensions. Over time, certain shelters will be expanded and others improved with additional facilities as required.
During the installation of the shelters, a foundation will be cast, sidewalks will be upgraded where feasible and other infrastructure such as as telephone and electrical cables moved.
Harold Basson, Director of Civil Engineering Services of the George Municipality, indicated that due to the unique location of each bus stop, an assessment is done prior to the final placement of the structure. “In order to determine the ideal placement of the structure, the existing infrastructure and available sidewalk are carefully assessed, as well as best sight lines for oncoming buses and traffic, safety of passengers, and ease of movement for persons with special categories of needs to enter and exit the vehicle,” he said.
Several shelters resembling those being erected now could be seen at the Garden Route Mall, the transport hub in Cradock Street and Blanco since the middle of last year. These were constructed as part of a public participation process whereby the community was invited to indicate their preferred design.