Dirt on our city buses goes round and round

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BRONWYN DAVIDS

YOU’RE un­likely to see a clean Golden Ar­row bus on Cape Town’s roads any­time soon.

Dirt on the com­pany’s 1 036 ve­hi­cles has been build­ing over the past few months.

Due to the city’s wa­ter cri­sis and sub­se­quent re­stric­tions, Golden Ar­row has been un­able to wash its buses.

Some even have posters on them, which read: “Sav­ing wa­ter one dirty bus at a time”.

Golden Ar­row’s PR man­ager, Bron­wen Dyke- Beyer, said: “Golden Ar­row Bus Ser­vices is acutely aware of the scale of the wa­ter cri­sis which cur­rently be­sets metropoli­tan Cape Town and as a re­spon­si­ble cor­po­rate cit­i­zen, is com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment all nec­es­sary mea­sures to con­trib­ute to­wards the sav­ing of this crit­i­cal re­source.”

Dyke-Beyer said the com­pany stopped wash­ing its ve­hi­cles a few months ago, de­spite its wash­ing ma­chine be­ing able to re­cy­cle more than 80% of the wa­ter it used.

Dirty buses have be­come can­vasses for those wish­ing to ex­press their cre­ative sides, with the phrase “wash me” seem­ingly the most pop­u­lar.

Dyke-Beyer said while the ex­te­ri­ors of Golden Ar­row’s buses were un­sightly, ev­ery ef­fort had been made to main­tain the in­te­ri­ors.

“The in­sides of the buses are still swept reg­u­larly. We are also ex­plor­ing other wa­ter-sav­ing av­enues across our op­er­a­tions in the hopes of fur­ther re­duc­ing our us­age,” she added.

Hope Ooster­wyk, who trav­els between Mitchells Plain and the CBD, said: “I drive with them ( Golden Ar­row buses) ev­ery day, so I know how they look. But can’t they find another way to clean the buses?”

Shane Heuwel said: “It is not a lovely sight. But it is nec­es­sary to save wa­ter. How­ever, when I travel along Van­guard Ex­press way, I still see peo­ple let­ting the free wa­ter taps run unchecked.”

Joshua Mur­phy said: “I can’t say any­thing. If I did, then they’re not go­ing to do any­thing about wash­ing the buses, any­way. But I wish they will do some­thing.”

Dyke- Beyer said Golden Ar­row had re­ceived gripes about its dirty buses but once it ex­plained why, the com­plainants’ re­sponses were “ex­tremely pos­i­tive”.

There has also been a City of Cape Town di­rec­tive to MyCiTi op­er­a­tors that the wash­ing of its buses is pro­hib­ited.

The wa­ter cri­sis in the Western Cape has shown no sign of eas­ing.

The dam stor­age lev­els are at 37.2%, with us­able wa­ter at 27.2%. The city’s col­lec­tive con­sump­tion is at 614 mil­lion litres of wa­ter a day.

May­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for In­for­mal Set­tle­ments Wa­ter and Waste Ser­vices and En­ergy Xanthea Lim­berg said: “The stub­born ex­ces­sive users are also un­der the spot­light as part of our new Level 5 wa­ter re­stric­tions.

“The com­mer­cial sec­tor, where wa­ter us­age has not de­clined, must bring con­sump­tion down by 20% year-on-year im­me­di­ately or face penal­ties as per the same month of the pre­vi­ous year,” she added.

May­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for Trans­port and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Brett Her­ron, said drink­ing wa­ter should not be used to wash buses.

“MyCiTi de­pots are equipped with wa­ter- re­cy­cling fa­cil­i­ties for wash­ing buses, and the buses are only washed with re­cy­cled wa­ter when enough re­cy­cled wa­ter has ac­cu­mu­lated in the de­pot stor­age tanks,” he said.

All ex­ter­nal taps at public trans­port in­ter­changes were sealed and ve­hi­cles may not be washed there. Only ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties were func­tion­ing at the in­ter­changes, said Her­ron.

May­oral spokesper­son Zara Ni­chol­son said the city was con­duct­ing on­go­ing en­gage­ments at public trans­port in­ter­changes where buses and taxis op­er­ated to ed­u­cate the public on wa­ter sav­ing and it pro­motes the use of wa­ter­less prod­ucts or re­cy­cled wa­ter.

PIC­TURE: CINDY WAXA/ANA

Golden Ar­row has a cam­paign to save wa­ter by not wash­ing its buses.

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