GEORGE NEWS - Repair work to vandalised Go George bus shelters is currently being done all over town after a budget provision of R1,3-million has been made available by the George Municipality for this purpose.
Of the 124 shelters already put up at bus stops, 92% have been damaged structurally by breaking the glass or laminate panels, while vinyl stickers with passenger information inside the shelters need to be replaced continuously, as they are torn down or defaced by graffiti.
The glass side panel of the bus shelters seem to be targeted most by vandals.
After extensive research and testing, an even stronger, shatterproof glass is now being used in replacements, as well as in new shelters being erected. The glass panels were chosen for safety reasons to ensure visibility of passengers inside the shelter, as well as passengers' need to see oncoming buses.
If all goes according to plan, the current repair work will be completed before winter sets in, to provide shelter during cold and wet weather conditions. The budget does not make provision for new damage, which has to be discouraged and curbed at all cost.
Call for public's help
Go George manager James Robb says the community's support is needed to help turn around the habit of destruction. "By vandalising and damaging these structures, the culprits deprive their own communities of the facilities. Investigation, putting out tenders and executing repair work on damaged shelters take time, and until this is concluded, passengers are the victims who are inconvenienced and exposed to the elements," he said. "The same goes for the senseless stoning of Go George buses. Taking buses out of service for repairs reduces the level of service we are aiming to provide, when passengers have to wait longer for their bus to arrive or have to use a bus carrying more passengers than they feel safe to join."
George Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Michelle Gratz, has spoken out strongly against this criminal conduct. "Three men have been arrested recently after being caught red-handed, breaking the rear window of a bus. The municipality has a zero-tolerance approach to criminality, but we need the public to come forward if they have information that can help us bring these perpetrators to justice. Take a photo if you can, and please phone the Go George Call Centre on 0800 044 044 with information about what happened, where and when it happened, and who did it."
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