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Golden Arrow calls for dedicated law enforcement to halt bus attacks

The company said that on average, more than 200 busses were attacked in some way every month and there are 6 to 8 robberies on buses on a weekly basis.

FILE: One of the Golden Arrow buses that was torched in Delft on 14 August 2020. Picture: Wayne Dyson, spokesperson for Cape Town law enforcement

CAPE TOWN - Golden Arrow said that in order to combat bus robberies and arson, it needed effective law enforcement dedicated to public transport.

The company said that on average, more than 200 busses were attacked in some way every month and there are 6 to 8 robberies on buses on a weekly basis.

This year, 13 vehicles were lost due to protests at a cost of R29 million.

Golden Arrow general manager Derek Meyer said that the company was in communication with SAPS through the Joint Operations Committee but there are problems.

"There's not enough assistance available at all times and obviously, there are things that fall through the cracks. Dedicated law enforcement team that similarly looks after rail and MyCiTi services is required for Golden Arrow as well."

Last year, municipal law-enforcement officers were assigned to buses but the unit was disbanded due to the operational requirements of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Golden Arrow CEO Francois Meyer said that the unit had worked: "We had 25 or 30 policemen and all they did 8 hours a day was ride buses and you could see how that impacted on armed robberies. We believe that that should be a first step and we think there should be a continuous police force riding along and if I say public transport, I don;t just mean Golden Arrow, I, mean MyCiTi."

The City of Cape Town's JP Smith said that the city has tried to assist but the challenge was that Golden Arrow had a massive fleet.

"It is impossible with a handful of extra law enforcement officers to cover that all fleet and the criminals are highly mobile, very well informed and the extent of the investment to keep the GABS vehicles safe will have to be much bigger."

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