Next week, on the 8th of December, it will be one year since the roll-out of the first GO GEORGE buses in the George community. What was a novelty and a strange system a year ago, is now an everyday routine for a large part of the city’s residents.
“Our passengers are the heart of our system,” says James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager. “Without them we would not have been able to improve and adjust the system to truly suit the community’s needs. All feedback is recorded and discussed, and if possible, we make adjustments.”
From the reaction of passengers for whom GO GEORGE has walked the extra mile, this seems to be more than empty words.
The staff of Fishaways in Wellington Street were cautious of walking in the dark to the CBD after work, after the bus route that ran close to their workplace was changed to utilise the available buses more efficiently. As many workers in that area work till late, GO GEORGE responded to their request. At 19:00, 20:00 and 21:00, workers can now catch the bus on the old route in Courtenay Street again, and travel to Pacaltsdorp via York Street.
A man who’s been waiting patiently for his request to be implemented, is André Louw from Rosemoor. André is a gholf course maintenance man at Fancourt and starts work at 06:00 in the morning to have the course in perfect condition before the first golfers turn up. The buses in Rosemoor did not start running early enough for André to make his transfer at the CBD and still be in time for work. “But as soon as the minibuses arrived and there were more buses, GO GEORGE made a plan to schedule a 05:00 bus to get me and several other guys from Rosemoor to the CBD earlier. And now that more people are aware of the early bus, many travel along to get to the George Hospital early,” he says.
Keith van der Merwe is a workshop controller at Tavcor, opposite the Garden Route Mall. He transfers to a mall bus at the CBD in the morning, along with quite a number of Pacaltdorp residents. “But we had a problem in that the connecting bus departing from the CBD in time to get us to work before 08:00, left just 10 minutes too early,” he says. Keith sent an email to GO GEORGE to explain their plight and unintentionally became the spokesperson for the passengers who start work at the Kraaibosch Spar, Tavcor, Town Lodge and Pick ‘n Pay at eight. “GO GEORGE made the change for us, and now the workers at the new Eden Meander shops luckily also benefit from our arrangements!”
Roma Paulsen from Protea Park says she finds the buses quite convenient. “I’ve worked out that I can get to town faster by taking a Rosemoor bus to the Mall and then transfer to a bus that takes me directly to the CBD. One simply has to watch the time and work out your own plans – once you understand how the system works, it is easy. Now we’re still looking forward to take the bus to the sea as well!” she says.