Sub-council 3 has resolved to seek internal legal opinion from the City of Cape Town to establish whether the Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) operating in Grandiflora Street, Welgemoed, is legal.
This decision was taken at the sub-council meeting in Goodwood on Thursday May 19, after the issue was raised by Ward 70 councillor Andrea Crous.
A letter seeking legal opinion was sent to the City on Tuesday May 24 by sub-council manager Johannes Brand, who stated the bus service was originally intended to transport schoolchildren from the area, as a so-called “chartered service”.
“As the Van Riebeeckshof area developed over the years, the ‘chartered service’ became a ‘commuter service’. This resulted in a significant increase in the number of buses entering the said street and the driving habits of some of the bus drivers is further causing serious concerns,” the letter reads.
At a meeting in July last year the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works was requested to report on the legal position of Gabs.
It was found the service was within its legal rights as long as it stayed in the 67km radius.
In sub-council documents it stated that residents had a longstanding objection, including the request to have the service totally removed in the area.
“This problem dates back to 2009 and has been on the agenda since 2011. There has been many meetings with the various role-players, including officials from the City and provincial government, but this issue is yet to be resolved. The reduced number of buses using the route only lasted for three weeks, then it went back to 25 buses using the route,” said Ms Crous.
A response from Melissa Whitehead, commissioner of the City of Cape Town’s transport authority, Transport for Cape Town, in sub-council documents read: “Gabs operates a scheduled bus service and all the routes operated by them are in terms of operating licences for commuter bus services.
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At present and since 1997, the provincial government has been the custodian of their contract and monitors them accordingly.”
The City requested a detailed demand and supply analysis in 2012 and 2015 in relation to Gabs’ operation in and around the vicinity of Grandiflora Street.
“The survey was undertaken by Gabs and revealed that there is a demand for six buses per day on this route.
“It should be noted that all such operations are done in accordance with the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) and the approved operating licences,” Ms Whitehead’s response read.
Ms Crous said provincial officials promised they would get legal opinion but says they never got it in writing.
“The sub-council manager tried almost every week, but none of the officials responded. This daily use of Grandiflora Street, does not qualify as a ‘charter service’ according to legislation in the NLTA.”
Ms Crous said proclaimed routes in the Government Gazette does not include Grandiflora Street.
“All these years the officials tried to convince the community that Gabs has a permit to operate in this particular street. Their permit allows them to travel within a 67km radius of the bus depot and only includes the use of Van Riebeeckshof Road.”