Dirt on our city buses goes round and round
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.
Golden Arrow has a campaign to save water by not washing its buses.