Bad bus behaviour

Kashiefa Petersen, Bay View

I am totally disgusted at what happened this morning (Friday February 26) to our bus driver, on bus number 4020, departing from Bay View at 5.40am to Cape Town.

Three inspectors pulled him over and gave him absolute lip, being extremely rude to him, screaming and shouting.

They claimed that the driver never stops for any of the passengers wanting to board the bus, which is an absolute lie. I take this bus every day and no matter how full this bus gets, he picks up everyone.

Furthermore he tried explaining that the bus is already full and according to company policy there should only be 25 people standing even though there were more people in the bus.

These three inspectors kept on screaming, disrespecting and pointing at the driver.

In the meantime, a girl and old lady got sick on the bus because the bus was already so full.

Keep in mind that we were still standing as they demanded more people were standing at the bus stop and all of them needed to get in this bus before he (the driver) leaves. We left at 6.20am and obviously myself, nurses and other government employees, to say the least, were late because of this.

Although we were telling the inspectors that there are people getting sick on the bus, they just couldn’t care less. This driver stops for absolutely everyone and for someone to lie and say he doesn’t, is pathetic.

My question to Golden Arrow is, is this the way you treat your drivers or is it because he is black and they were coloured inspectors?

Who gives anyone the right to treat any human being so disgustingly?

Do you honestly expect this driver to overload his bus every day, knowing full well that there was a new development in Pelican Park, an entire section with so many people and Golden Arrow not investigating if the early buses that were put in place were enough?

Golden Arrow cannot, I repeat cannot, start putting on more buses only after 6am at the expense of people who are waiting at their bus stops since 5am for an empty bus so that they may also get a seat.

Please use your common knowledge.

* Bronwen Dyke, public relations manager, Golden Arrow Bus Services, responds:

From the outset Golden Arrow would like to apologise to any of our passengers who were made to feel uncomfortable by the exchange which Ms Petersen describes in her letter. The letter has been passed on for investigation and statements have been received from the inspectors in question.

The next step will be an interview with the driver and we would also welcome any passengers such as Ms Petersen to provide witness statements via complaints@gabs.co.za

We go to great lengths in trying to ensure that every member of our staff provides the best possible level of professionalism. We don’t, unfortunately, always succeed and there are instances when the behaviour of staff is below the standard to which we aspire as a company. In all such instances, provided we can identify the employees concerned, appropriate corrective action is taken. This could include counselling, retraining, and/or disciplinary action.

In addition, where a driver feels aggrieved due to the behaviour of a company official there are channels that can be followed and investigations are transparent and without favour. In this case the statements from the inspectors differ from Ms Petersen’s statement and as such a more detailed investigation will now take place to determine how to proceed. In terms of overloading, inspectors are there to ensure that buses are filled to legal capacity. Our buses are operating at capacity during peak and we have found that a number of buses are not carrying their full capacity because passengers do not wish to move to the back of the bus to allow more passengers to board.

This becomes problematic for those passengers who do not get to board a bus because a bus that is not actually full is no longer stopping to load passengers. Company officials are not tasked with overloading buses and in this case it is the inspectors’ assertion that the bus was not yet legally full.

Golden Arrow is a company with more than 2 800 diverse staff members. There is no truth to Ms Petersen’s comments regarding racial profiling and we would therefore like to refute any assertions of that kind in the strongest possible terms.

Ultimately every single staff member at Golden Arrow’s primary function is to ensure that our passengers receive the best possible service with the resources available to us.

Where this is not the case, we will do everything in our power to improve but we also ask that passengers understand that issues are not always as simple as they may appear and that our staff often find themselves in situations where they will please some and upset others. That is unfortunately the nature of providing 1 045 peak buses and transporting 230 000 passengers on a daily basis.