GOLDEN Arrow Bus Services has launched a fleet of the new generation MAN Lion’s Explorer buses as part of their fleet recapitalisation programme involving 110 buses worth more than R120m.
Golden Arrow has been operating scheduled bus transport services for 141 years. It serves 900 routes in the greater metropolitan area of Cape Town for the Western Cape’s provincial transport department, covering 246km². About 260000 commuters are transported every day.

“Fleet recapitalisation is the buzz word in public transport today,” says Elias Mphande, chairman of the Golden Arrow board of directors.

“Since HCI acquired Golden Arrow in 2004 we have introduced 169 new buses, in addition to the delivery of the 110 new MAN buses in the current financial year. Through this, the company will be better positioned to meet the growing demand for commuter bus transport in the Western Cape, which has shown a consistent annual increase in passenger numbers since 2000.

“The MAN buses will provide world-class sustainable transport. The Lion’s Explorer bodywork is produced in SA and designed specifically for African conditions but with European quality standards.

“These buses are fitted with the latest diesel technology engines, automatic transmissions, ABS braking systems, and comfortable suspensions. An added safety and comfort feature is an additional step that lowers when the door is opened. This ensures easier access for commuters. For safety reasons the bus can only move once the step is retracted and the door is closed.”

Marius Fransman, Western Cape Minister for Transport and Public Works, said public transport service is a key to the economic development of the region, as well as being the answer to relieving traffic congestion on Western Cape roads.

“The MAN buses meet the province’s requirements for a safe, affordable, reliable and comfortable mode of public transport for our commuters,” he said.

“These commuter buses are technically compliant with South African legislation and are also aesthetically pleasing with the look and feel of the public transport brand. These aspects are important for us to achieve our goal of making public transport the preferred mode of transport in the Western Cape.

“The continued growth of Golden Arrow Bus Services and their partnership with the Province and the City of Cape Town has had a ripple effect on the economic development in the region.

“Providing quality transport services has had many downstream benefits for economic development, beyond the 2500 people employed by Golden Arrow Bus Services. In addition to 150 bus drivers that will require training and skills development to drive these new buses, body builders, fitters, painters, cleaners, engineers and welders will all have employment opportunities.” The transport and public works department in the Western Cape feels it is a step closer to a fully integrated public transport system. The next step is the expansion of the public transport system to the southern Cape, outside major metropolitan areas. Nic Cronjé, CEO of Golden Arrow, said: “The focus of Golden Arrow Bus Services has always been on our passengers. It is with this in mind that we have partnered with MAN, as this ensures we are able to provide a safe, convenient and economic mode of transport for the Western Cape. “We see our relationship with MAN as key to achieving our goal of being the premier supplier of passenger transport services in the Western Cape and in particular, the City of Cape Town.”

Source: Business Day – Motor News Reporter