Fury as operator hikes bus fares 9%
Commuters threaten to dump Golden Arrow
COMMUTERS are furious with Golden Arrow Bus Services for hiking their fares by 9 percent at the beginning of the month.
This means a commuter catching a bus on the Cape Flats would have to pay up to R19 to get to the the city centre, or nearly R18 from Somerset West or Blouberg.
Golden Arrow initially wanted a 10.4 percent increase, which the provincial transport department refused to approve.
Golden Arrow spokesman Vuyisile Mdoda said: “Considering fairness to taxpayers and commuters, we decided to settle on 9 percent.”
But commuters, many cashstrapped after the holidays, said the hike was way too high.
Some threatened to stop using buses and use taxis instead, as it cost R12.50 for a trip from Khayelitsha to the city. Others said they would switch to trains.
Angry passengers at the bustling Cape Town bus terminus on the Grand Parade told Weekend Argus that the hikes were “an obvious rip-off ”.
Manelisi Sihlangu of Nkanini in Khayelitsha had been paying R312 for his monthly clip card ticket to and from Cape Town, but now his fare had increased by R41 to R353.
“It is way too high. Last year they increased the fares too much and now they’re doing it again.
“They’re bullying us with these prices, it’s not fair.”
Belinda Marshalls of Parklands said she now had to pay R70 for her weekly ticket, up from R65.
“The new prices are clearly designed to hit us hard. The R5 makes a huge difference. Golden Arrow is ripping us off.”
But Mdoda said the increase was “necessary and unavoidable, as we have to keep our fleet in perfect condition”.
“The fare adjustment is made to cover the increases in labour, maintenance and the cost of spares.
“It is imperative that we increase our fares if we are to maintain a proper standard of service.
“But as always, we consider our commuters’ interests before we make decisions.
“From the 250 000 passengers that use our service every day, we have received only 10 complaints.”
But commuters said the increase was “baffling” when the service was “poor”.
A woman, who gave her name only as Michelle, said the buses servicing her Mitchells Plain neighbourhood were “often in bad shape”.
When it rained, water would leak through gaps above the windows.
However, Mdoda disagreed, saying the fleet was always “up to standard”.
He said should the price of fuel rise significantly during the year, a further fare increase would be sought.
“However, at this stage we are not in position to determine how much we will negotiate for.”