The Golden Arrows Bus Services (GABS) has provided its transport service to the residents of Cape Town for over 150 years. The company recently received its 1000th bus from MAN Trucks and Buses South Africa (MAN) at an event at the Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville Hills.
Markus Geyer, Managing Director of MAN Truck & Bus South Africa took those in attendance down memory lane, highlighting poignant moments in the history of the business. “In 2015 we, at MAN, celebrated a hundred years of providing technologically advanced trucks and buses to our customers,” he said.
MAN and GABS share a 15- year business relationship. “In 2001 we sold our first bus, a MAN A63 18.232/Explorer to Golden Arrow Bus Services. This was the start of a collaborative partnership,” he said. “…a partnership that has led us to this event, 15 years later, where we are proud to deliver bus number 1000 to the team at Golden Arrow Bus Services.”
Jerone Lagarde, senior vice president of MAN Truck & Bus, flew from MAN’s head office in Germany for the occasion. He commented on the philosophy at MAN of collaborating with their clients to develop and produce efficient and safe transport solutions.
“We have a dedicated team that interacts with the engineers at GABS on a regular basis, ensuring they get the bus they need,” he said. “I do not know of many international bus companies who have USB chargers or free on-board Wi-Fi for their passengers in their buses,” he added. “This is just another way South Africa, Golden Arrow Bus Services and MAN is leading the way.”
Lagarde emphasised the long term commitment of MAN to investing in South Africa and its people, with over 80% local content being used in the manufacturing of its buses, creating local employment, and upskilling workers.
He paid particular tribute to the drivers at GABS and said that the meticulous effort put into manufacturing the safest buses possible was only one side of the safety coin, with well trained, safety aware drivers, the other vital side.
Referring to the overall commitment of MAN to the environment Lagarde said the company was “very aware of the impact we have on our planet”, and added that “strategies that mitigate, reduce or cut our carbon offset” were being provided.
“An example is our Assembly Plant in South Africa,” he said. “It is one of the first in the world, and the first within the MAN Group, to be 110% energy independent. The extra 10% we send back into a local energy grid.”
Provincial Minister of Transport, Donald Grant, praised the management and staff of MAN and GABS for servicing Cape Town with an impressive safety record.
Based on an Independent Customer Survey Report Grant said, “The vast majority of the customers of GABS are really complimentary about the service. Most of these passengers earn less than R3500 a month which makes the company vital to the transport needs of the poor.”
GABS CEO Francois Meyer said he was “proud to be part of this collaboration between GABS and MAN”.
“This long term relationship has ensured that the R1,4 billion that we have spent on MAN buses over the past 15 years has made GABS an enduring provider of reliable and safe public transport to the people of Cape Town – with a laudable 97% efficiency ratio,” Meyer said.