Go George, South Africa’s first non-metro integrated public transport

Robin Carlisle MPP

Minister of Transport and Public Works

Western Cape Government

The George Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) has been a project spearheaded by the Department of Transport and Public Works that has been years in the making. It is South Africa’s first non-metro integrated public transport system and has been adopted as the pilot project for the future roll out of other IPTNs outside of large cities.

“I am very gratified to see Go George finally take shape. It has been the hard work of a dedicated team in the department; lead by Darryl Jacobs and Deidre Ribbonaar; together with our municipal partners; the National Department of Transport and the local public transport operators who have joined us in bringing about this precedent setting transport system.  George will set the model for all other non-metros and rural areas in the future. This is an area bustling with economic activity that can only continue to thrive when this network goes live later this year; with thousands gaining access to safe, reliable, and affordable public transport,” said Minister Carlisle.

Go George will be George’s first formal scheduled bus service that will connect thousands of George residents to their places of work in a safe, dependable, and cost effective way. The network will boast;

  • Over 25 routes across George
  • 5.8 million kms/year travelled equating to more than 9 million passenger trips annually
  • A scheduled and safe 18 hours a day, 7 days a week service
  • Subsidised fares with an integrated fare management system
  • Partnership with existing operators in the area, with contracts having already been negotiated

“There has been a massive R40 million investment in upgrades and infrastructure for the network across George, and into areas like Thembalethu. This work includes roadway civil works as well as all the bus stops, shelters, as well as the construction of a fully functional bus depot. We expect there to be in excess of 600 flag and pole stops and close to 200 shelters at the project’s completion and full roll-out, servicing an initial fleet of about 90 buses. Arterial roads are being upgraded to ensure optimal operation of the multi-million rand first-of-its-kind integrated public transport network. We are also pleased to have additionally secured over R200 million in National Department of Transport funding, over the next 3 years; all to ensure that Go George continues to serve the people of George.

“Go George is one of the many displays of this department’s core function to promote accessibility and the safe, affordable movement of people, goods and services through the delivery and maintenance of transport infrastructure that is sustainable, integrated and environmentally sensitive,” added Carlisle.

An integral part of the process of launching Go George has been the successful, department-led, engagements and negotiations with the public transport industry in George, with notable highlights being;

  1. June 2013: The signing of a compensation agreement with all 3 taxi associations and 1 bus operating company in George.
  2. October 2013: The signing of the operator contract with the operating company (George Link) by the George Municipality and the Western Cape Government.
  3. January 2014: The formalization of the vehicle operating company through an inaugural AGM with the full shareholder body.

“We are also well on our way to the initial roll-out of Go George, expected in July this year, with key elements having been completed or close to finalization. The network promises to be a huge success and a testament to the great advances that can be achieved through partnership and the highest level of good inter-governmental relations,” added Carlisle.