The Golden Arrow Bus Service, in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, has revealed that it will deploy its newly-formed Transport Enforcement Unit.
As reported by Cape Town ETC, this comes after the recent spate of armed robberies that have been committed on some of its buses.
According to mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, this is in response to the danger robbers pose to commuters.
How armed robbers target Golden Arrow commuters
In buses travelling from Cape Flats areas such as Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, robbers would often climb into the bus under the guise of a commuter.
And then, as soon as the bus pulls off — keep in mind that the driver is in isolated in his cockpit — the suspects would hold the entire bus for ransom.
The robberies were a concern for the bus service. However, things escalated when, earlier in the month, a commuter was randomly killed after the bus departing from Khayelitsha was robbed by the suspects.
Does the City have legal rights to deploy enforcement unit?
Smith agrees that this was the wake-up call for the City. He revealed that the staff and operational costs of deploying the enforcement unit will be the responsibility of the City of Cape Town.
Although a launch date has yet to be determined, Smith was sure that the unit will be piloted in routes Golden Arrow has identified as hotspot areas.
He also admitted that deploying uniformed officers in confined public transport spaces was walking the fine line but it was a necessary response to the recent spate of attacks on commuters nonetheless.
“We don’t have a legal obligation to enforce these spaces but they are public transport spaces on which thousands of residents of our city rely on daily to get to work, earn an income and to get study opportunities,” he said.
Smith confirmed that a meeting with the bus service on Wednesday should clarify issues such as date of launch as well as the tactical approach to the pilot launch.