Public transport is an important part of many people’s lives, and an exhibition at Cape Town civic centre is showing the public that it is also a big part of Cape Town’s history.

“The Story of Cape Town’s Public Transport” is a record of the transition of public transport from horse-drawn carriages to the bus system we know today.

A video presentation called “Our Roots and Routes from 1801”, combines visuals of modern transport facilities and photos and illustrations of the old.

Virginia Engel, executive chairperson of the HCI (Hosken Consolidated Investments) foundation feels that the exhibition and the project to preserve the heritage of the public transport system “will capture the imagination of every child, worker and adult who has and are still travelling by means of public transport today”.

The first mode of public transport was the horsedrawn carriage. In 1801 the first carriage carrying many passengers travelled from Cape Town to Simon`s Town.

In 1862 the Cape Town and Green Point Tramway Company was founded and tracks were laid down, extending the route to include Sea Point.

On August 6,1896, the first electric tram route was established between Cape Town and Mowbray.

The exhibition gives more detail of the advancements made during this period and interesting facts about Cape Town and its suburbs. One of these is the fact that Kenilworth was formerly known as Mortimerville.

HCI is the new owner of Golden Arrow Bus Services and their programme to preserve the history of public transport forms part of their efforts not only to celebrate it but to improve services in future.

The exhibition formed part of the Memory Project run jointly by the City of Cape Town and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Other exhibitions were bylziko (National Museums) and Provincial Museums.

Source: Southern Suberbs Tattler – Bianca Lucas