Give the bus a pass

2017-10-24 06:01

We are a group of working professionals who travel from Mitchell’s Plain on the 17:40 bus to Tygerberg Hospital. As paying customers of Golden Arrow Bus Services, we expect to be treated as such. In fact, there is a contractual agreement between Gabs and us as customers, because the moment Gabs takes our money, they are obligated under this contract to deliver a service. This service includes their buses being on time and in the event that there are delays due to unforeseen circumstances, they are obligated to inform the customers and arrange alternative buses.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. As in the case of Metrorail, Gabs also fails its customers.

Most of the people travelling on this bus are nurses working at the hospital. For the past couple of months we always report late for duty due to the following:

1. The driver is always late.

For the past week alone, he arrived in Town Centre after 18:00. Tonight we only left Town Centre at 18:30 and this was after he arrived at 18:12. This is not even an isolated incident, because we’ve complained to the inspectors, regulators and even management, but all we get are excuses. First, the driver said that he got the bus late. Then it was the roadworks in Strandfontein Road, then it was the school kids. During the June school holidays, he was on time. What was different then?

We sent a letter to management and they also gave us excuses. The driver became so arrogant that he told us in advance that he would be late. The funny thing is that he knows exactly what time he will arrive.

2. This driver drives as if he is following a funeral procession, especially when he is late. We are not saying that he must put our lives at risk, but it seems like he is doing this deliberately.

Unfortunately, Gabs is fast becoming the next Metrofail.

Christo Lackay, On behalf of angry customers on the 17:40 Tygerberg Hospital bus

Bronwen Dyke-Beyer, Gabs spokesperson, responds:

Gabs sincerely empathises with the concerns raised by the complainants.

In this case, changes to the route are now being made for the second time as a result of new challenges on the previous trips. Initially this particular bus was coming from the city centre but as a result of heavy traffic on the N2, a scheduling change was made so that the bus was coming from Plumstead. This was working very well until increased traffic and roadworks on the route also became problematic.

The new scheduling change is now being processed, which we hope will provide a long-term solution.

However, it must be noted that Golden Arrow’s conditions of carriage explicitly state that:

The company, its officials or agents will not be liable for the results of any delays and inconveniences in the undertaking of or during a journey, whether this arises from accidents, breakdowns or any other cause, but will try to fulfil all its obligations in good time and to the best of its ability.

It is impossible to guarantee that services will run on time. More than 98% of our buses leave the depot on time but the delays happen on the road as a result of unforeseen circumstances. No public transport system can or will guarantee that services will run exactly according to schedule. What we can guarantee is that we will always do our very best to operate according to schedule.

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