The George Integrated Public Transport Network (GIPTN) has improved the lives of many bus drivers, who now form a key part of the Western Cape Government’s flagship public transport improvement project.
The GIPTN is a partnership project between the Western Cape Government, the Municipality of George, and the national government to establish a high-quality, scheduled bus service in George. Phase 1 of the Go George service began operating in December 2014 and three phases are currently in operation. The fourth and largest phase is due to commence operations later this year. The full project is expected to have been completed by June 2016.
The GIPTN system is a model for smaller South African cities seeking to implement infrastructure-light high-quality bus systems. The project began with the full-scale transformation of the public transport industry in George. Public transport operators own 100% of George Link, the newly established vehicle operating company that provides operating services to GIPTN. The only small bus operator providing services on GIPTN routes, Louis Muller, is a part owner of George Link. The operating company has secured its future by signing a 12-year service contract with government.
Former taxi driver Prins Swartz (38), from Rosemoor in George, joined Go George in November 2014 after receiving training on how to operate a bus service as well education on the components of a bus.
“Go George has changed my life, as well as other drivers, for the better. Becoming part of this project has become a relief for me in terms of job security. The future now looks bright, and I’m proud to be a bus driver for Go George,” he said at the official launch of the GIPTN in George on 16 October 2015.
Swartz adds that he always looks forward to get into the bus every day, to speak to commuters, and to share the daily journey with them. “I’m happy to be a part of the Go George project, and I’m confident that future generations will benefit even further from it.”
Minister of Transport and Public Works Donald Grant said the Western Cape Government has provided extensive support to GIPTN and this will help to ensure that the project is successful and sustainable.
“Go George not only provides a comfortable, safe and reliable public transport service, it also empowers people. The bus drivers are key to the success of the project, and it’s clear that it has had a beneficial impact on their lives.”