Cameras and panic buttons will be installed on Golden Arrow buses from next week. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cameras and panic buttons will be installed on Golden Arrow buses from next week. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Golden Arrow buses to be fitted with cameras and panic buttons

By Keagan Mitchell Time of article published Mar 20, 2021

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Cape Town - Despite plans to beef up security on Golden Arrow buses, commuters are unsure whether it will make any difference.

From as early next week, cameras and panic buttons will be installed on the buses following a spate of robberies. Last month, robberies peaked at six to seven per week.

Jeanette van Rensburg and Ian Davids were both robbed of their cellphones while travelling home from work.

Van Rensburg travelled from Parow to the Mitchell’s Plain town centre while Davids travelled from Woodstock to the town centre.

Van Rensburg said: “I’m still travelling by bus because I would need to take three taxis to get to work and it does not come cheap. Personally, I think Golden Arrow does not care about their passengers because almost every day, a bus gets robbed. Not even a word from them or just to say they are sorry for your loss”.

Davids, who now works in Parow, said: “I have no other choice but to travel by bus. It's easy and convenient for me. Taxis are too expensive and they drive like they own the roads. Will cameras help? These robbers are very quick.”

In the most recent incident, four unknown assailants posed as passengers and robbed commuters on a town centre bus. This has been the modus operandi of most of the robberies.

Golden Arrow spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said the bus service would install cameras and panic buttons.

“The first 500 cameras and panic buttons have been ordered and will be fitted as soon as possible. Drop safes and a passenger panic alert application are in their testing phases. We are also awaiting confirmation from the city and province with regards to when the long-term dedicated bus enforcement unit will be re-launched.

“We believe strongly that the partnership between SAPS, law enforcement, metro police and traffic services and the provincial department of transport combined with our own efforts will play a big role in improving the situation.”

She said they were unable to share information on where hotspots were.

“Unfortunately, much of what we are doing needs to be covert and sharing specific sensitive information would negatively affect the progress we have made thus far. We understand that people are looking for information, but we cannot risk jeopardising ongoing operations.”

Dyke-Beyer said they have worked with law enforcement agencies since last month and they were noting a difference.

’’Based on its highest average number of six to seven weekly robberies, the joint integrated operation saw an initial reduction in incidents of 40% and a further 40% in the last two weeks.

’’There hasn’t been an incident since March 8 and on that same day, through the excellent teamwork of our safety and security manager, a passenger and SAPS, suspects were arrested.

“Crime is not something that we can tackle alone and there’s acknowledgement from SAPS that these are crimes which they are prioritising as part of their constitutionally mandated role to prevent, combat and investigate crime. There has to be a concerted effort from the authorities to assist us and that is what we are seeing now.”

Speaking on behalf of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW), Jandre Bakker said: “Public transport remains one of the main modes of transport people use to access social and economic opportunities. The safety of all road and transport users is a top priority for the Department of Transport and Public Works.

“DTPW is cautiously optimistic about the reduction in incidences of robberies. We have remained supportive of initiatives to improve safety on public transport and the installation of technology in buses will undoubtedly contribute positively to the fight against criminal activity on public transport.

“The use of technology will allow the collection of real-time data and will allow law enforcement agencies to identify trends and respond to said trends and hotspots.”

Weekend Argus

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