The operating contract between Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) and the Western Cape Provincial Department of Transport & Public Works makes provision for an annual adjustment to bus fares to cushion the effect of increases experienced in operational expenses since the last adjustment on 28 December 2015.
The prices of the primary inputs of commuter bus operations, viz. fuel, buses and digital operating systems are exposed to foreign denominated currencies, which due to exchange rate fluctuations, have been extremely volatile over the past year. Concurrent to this, labour cost increases have exceeded the average annualised consumer price index.Fuel and labour constitute approximately 72% of the total costs of conventional bus operations, which underscores the significant impact it has on the overall operational expenses in the commuter bus industry.
In addition to this, GABS also procured 74 new bus units and an Automated Fare Collection System at a combined cost of R 204 million during the past financial year as part of its continued commitment to improve its offering of providing safe and reliable bus services to approximately 220 000 passengers on a daily basis.
Through the prudent deployment of resources and the implementation of efficiencies across all facets of its operating systems, GABS has been able to contain the anticipated general fares increase to 4.45%.
The pending fare increase was discussed with all our passenger forums who have acknowledged the transparency and timeous engagement during the process. In terms of the provision, Golden Arrow Bus Services has by mutual agreement with the Western Cape Department of Transport & Public Works been allowed to implement a 4.45% increase which will come into effect as from Monday 26 December 2016.
Passengers can postpone paying the increased fares until 6 January 2017 in the case of 10-ride clipcards (which are valid for 14 days) and until 29 January 2017 in the case of monthly clipcards (valid for 37 days) if purchased on 24 December 2016. Golden Arrow continues to strive to provide the best service to its passengers, and despite the increase, bus travel remains a viable public transport alternative to travelling by private vehicle.