Cape Town background

Travel in those days
Transport in the early 19th century was limited to ox wagons, stage
coaches, horse-drawn omnibuses, so penny farthing and later

Postal Service

By 1806 a postal service had been established througout the colony.Tavelers could hitch a ride with the weekly wagon between Cape Town and Stellenbosch

1830's - Need to improve public Transport
The 1830's marked an economic upturn. Industrial and commercial activity spelled growth in Cape Town, bringing with it an increase demand for public stransport. Key factors:
  • Large number of Dutch local traders and retailers
  • The end of slavery, turned salves in wage-earning artisans and consumers, needing transport to make a living and the best of their newfound freedom
  • Regular and conformable travel remains preserved for the wealthy who can afford their own wagons
  • Daily Stage coach between Cape Town and Wynberg is introduced but is short lived
  • The 75th Regiment builds a a road to Green Point making travel easier
1836 - 1'st Regular horse-drawn omnibus
The first regular horse-drawn omnibus rand from Cape Town to Wynberg. A handsome covered wagon that can carry 8 passengers
  • The post wagon service between Cape Town and Swellendam was introduced
  • Around the same time, the horse-drawn omnibus between Cape Town and Wynberg is established. It was manned by a driver and conductor dressed in coachman style livery. The omnibus was drawn by 3 horses, carried 18 passengers and run took about an hour one-way

PC Trench Painting

PC Trench produced a series of paintings depicting Cape Towns transport in the mid-1800's Here the Victorian coach, which operated between Wynberg and Cape Town, speeds briskly downhill

1860- A womans grand idea
As the editor of the The Shipping Gazette, Mrs JH Silberbauer wrote an article on horse-drawn trams, a form of transport that had been introduced in England. She suggested that similar tramway lines could be laid and would offer increased comfort levels due to carriages running on the smooth rails, could carry more passengers and require fewer horses. She ened the article with an appeal to public-spirited men to take up the scheme.

A resourceful business man, Henry Solomon, caught hold of the vision imparted by Mrs Silerbauer's. He assembled a provisional committee to promote a tramway company in Sea Point

Public Travel

To travel to the country districts the public were
forced to travel by horse back or, when possible,
hitch a lift in a horse or oxen driven-drawn wagons

Rough Terrains
For early travllers journeys were far from smooth. Stone chips were laid to create main roads while gravel sufficed for the rest. Weahter conditions such as wind water rains and storms often destroyed resemblances of roads

A new era of transport

In May 1801 a weekly horse-drawn passenger wagon from Cape Town to Simon's Town was announced. It was the earliest stirrings of an effective public transport system for Cape Town. The wagon left promptly from outside the Berg (later St Georges) street shop of Mr George Woodgate

1833 - Post wagon service
A thrice-weekly post wagon started running between Cape Town and Simon's Town
Access to the Atlantic coast was further improved when the road over Kloof Nek to Camps Bay was started in 1848

Woodgate Wagon



Wynberg omnibus in Heerengracht, Cape Town

A pencil and washed drawing by Thomas Bowler.
Photograph: African Museum Johannesburg


The GABS Genesis

July 1860 - The foundation of transport future
An Act is passed by the Cape of Good Hope Parliament allowing a company to be formed for purpose of
constructing a tramway, horse-drwan of course, from Sea Point along Somerset Road, Waterkant Street, Bree
Strand Street, Long Street and Wale Street to Market Square.
May 1861

1 May 1861

The first horse-drawn tram at the Cape in the service of Cape Town and Green Point
Tramway Company had as its passengers on its inaugural run. Left to righ (back row): GM Atchison (Secretary of the Post Office). Hon PE Roubaix (Chairman), MM van
Reenen, GH de Jongh (Director), Catain van der Venn, Rev (unknown), P Penketh
(City Engineer), John Noble(Editor Adr. & Mail) and Stenhouse.
(Front Row. GW Murray (Editor Argus), Postmaster General, J.Lotz (Editor Zuid
Afrikaan, RM Ross, RH Ardene, J Leibrandt, H Solomon (Secretary) and Master Solomon. In foreground: J Bissel (Engineer).


The "fleet"

The CT&GPTC had two cars, Each was designed very
specifically and had the capacity for 20 seated and 12 standing
passengers. Doors on each end, stairs to the seats on the
roof and raised ceiling. Although not luxurious, the fleet
provided dust-free ventilation and headroom for the top-hats
worn by gentlemen of the day. It was most definitely an improvement on the omnibus

December 1862 - The first rails
The first rails are laid in Somerset Road new St Andrew's
Presbeterain Church by the The Railway and Dock Company. The
whole line was completed by June 1863.

Head Office

The Cape Town and Green Point tramway head
office on the corner of Long Street and what is
now Hout Street, established 1862.

1864 - The Boom Years increases demand
The Boom years brought increased demand in many sectors. Cape Towns continuous economic and industrial
expansion meant more workers and greater demand for public transport

By 1864, these trams were transporting 10, 454 passengers a year. The trans is now a part of the community life in Cape Town by the horse-drawn tramway cars are hard-pressed to meet the demand, and in "rush hour"
packed with as many as 90 passengers, pulled by 2 horses, the trams struggled to make up steep gradients to
Long Street. Passengers helped by aligting and walking next to the tram. A new public transport solution had to be
Trams carry a record breaking
128, 630 passengers a year.

Tramlines map

Cape Town and the suburbs showing tramlines built by the Green
Point Company and the City Tramways Company. Based on an
Admirality chart about 1878.

The Cape Town and Green Point
Tramway Company
is established

Mill Street Terminus

The first tram waiting quitely at the Mill Street
terminus. The canvas roof was detachable.

2 August 1861

The Cape Chronicle

A page from the cape Chronicle, dated 2
August 1861, prompting the Tramway
Hotel & Team Gardens in the route of the
services offered by the Cape Town and
Green Point Tramway Company.

May 1863 - The first horse-tram
Grand Opening of the first horse tran in SA, to Sea Point. The fare
was 5c.
December 1864 - CT to Wynberg railway
The coming of the railway proved revolutionary to Cape Town. The Railway Act of
1861 incorporated a new company and the Cape Town to Wynberg line was opened
on 19 December 1864.
1864 - Plan to go around the mountain to Camps Bay
It was predicted that if public transport to the most inaccesible parts of the Peninsula, today known as Camps Bay, could be improved, it would develop inot the Cape's premier seaside resort.

In February 1864 the Brighton Estate was purchased for £475, with the view to extend the existing Green Point
tramway track and the construction of "marine villas" there. The steepness of the gradients and the insufficient water
supply needed for the track-laying operations to now Camps Bay, caused this schem to be shelved until May
the Port Elizabeth Tramway
is formed.
The City of Cape Town is permitted a new company to lay tracks
and the The City Tranways Company Limited is formed. Track Laying
commences in Addrerly and Darling Streets.


Demand for change is increasing

1880-The fleet grew
By 1880. The Cape Town and Green Point Tramway Company fleet existed of 5 tramcars, running more than a dozen trips a day and was transporting about 40,000 passengers annually.

Rebuilding the tamway

Workers rebuilding tramway in Upper Long street.


City Tramways AGM

Notice Posted for the City Tramways Company Limited Annual General Meeting to held at the Mutual Hall on 7 August 1884

A new operating company is formed in Cape Town: Southern Suburbs of Cape Town Tramway Company Limited.

1887 Penny Farthings

In the early days of transport, the penny farthings are predecessors of bicycles. These iron-horses were used for individual transport reserved for the wealthy.


Track Maintenance

Maintenance is in progress on the oranjezicht line

1881- Line to Tollgate
In 1881 the line to Tollgate is completed. The City Tramway Company buys land for E130(R260). A three-track tram shed is erected

Shed in Darling Street

City Tramways' first car-shed (marked "B") in Darling Street.

1885 More track extentions
Track extentions through woodstock to Salt River commences. Uniforms are also issued to tram staff

1886 Gas lamps and Tramcars at St Andrews Church Cape Town

Civic improvements for trade by Thomas Bowler. n/ Photograph: African Museum, Johannesburg.

The Metropolitan and Suburban Railway Company is formed with the aim to building lines to Sea Point. This is completed in 1891, but due to a number of problems trains did not start running until September 1892


Farewell Horses, Hello Electricity

1890's - A need for horse-alternative
The introduction of electricity for traction in the 1890's heralded a new era of significant innovation. After several alternatives for working trams has been proposed - steam compression air and moving cables- American go-getter *Henry Butters* proposed an electric tramway system in Cape Town. The days of horse-drawn public transport were drawing to an end. Butters was ultimately responsibile for the introduction of electric trams, in both Cape Town and Port Elizaberth. Despite the initial rejection of his proposal, he constructed sample sections of electric tramways to demostrate the effectiveness of the system and declared that he woulf invest his own money in the venture.
1891 - Lighting the way
Electric lights are fitted to The Cape Town and Green Point Tramway Company vehicles.
October 1894 - Go-ahead
The Cape Town City Council grants Henry Butters the right to build and operate the first electric tramway in the city
13 July 1896

Demonstration trip - 13 July 1896

South Africa's first electric tram service is introduced - 4 years earlier than London's first electric tram in 1901. Members of Parliament and Town Counsellors partake in the first momentous demostration trip rom Toll Gate to Mowbray. WB Rommel is at the controls of the first care.

6 August 1896

The first public electric tram trip

The centre of Cape Town was ablaze with flags and the crowds milled on 6 August 1896 when the first tram was set in motion along the route, running between Adderley Street and Mowbray Hill, for the official opening.

Another new company, The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town Tramways Compant Limited is formed.
29 Septemer 1896
Electric trams started running to Sea Point.

The last horse-drawn trams

A staff group at Sea Point with one of the last horse-drawn trams

Fleet is 32 trams strong
Demand for improved tram service in Cape Town is now dictating supply and further shipment of electric tramcars arrive in the city's docks. The cape and its suburbs now have 32 electric trams running on about 37km of track. Lines run to Sea Point, the Gardens, Tomboerskloof, along Buitenkant Street and also to the southern suburbs (the line reached wynberg in 1898).

More than 7.25 million passengers were carried in the trams in Cape Town, which led to the countries transport race.
16 June 1897

Braaken River Bridge, PE

Port Elizaberth's first electric tramway was ceremoniously opened on 16 June 1897

16 June 1897

PE's last horse-drawn tram

On the same day the first electric tram was launched, Port Elizaberth's last horse-drawn bowed out of the city's transport system.


Round Church, corner kloof and Regent Road, Sea Point

A postcard depicting trams operating in Sea Point - late 1890s

late 1890's

Early electric rail-tram

No 35 trams of the early electric rail-tram with the open to deck. Commercial advertising on tram exteriors was a long established practice by now.

1898- The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited
The Metropolitan City Tramways Company Limited, which included The City Tramways Company Limited and The Cape Town and Green Point Tramway Company, together with the Southern Suburb of the Cape Town Tramways Company (and The Port Elizaberth Tramways Company) were incoporated/merged into one new holding company registered in London- *The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited*
The Camps Bay Tramway syndicate is formed
Sea Point Railways opens
1895 - The merge
Henry Butters purchase both The Cape Town and Green point Tramway Company and City Tramway Company. Construction of a power station starts on the land of the first City Tramway depot at "The Toll" in Woodstock and was completed by mid-1896. There are three 138kw generators, 550 volts.
6 August 1896 - Official Inaugaration
The first tram service in Cape Town was officially inaugarated by Lady Sivewright, wife of Sir James Sivewright (telegraph and railway pioneer in SA and politician), when she started the first electric tram on it's maiden journey through a flag bedecked Adderley street to Mowbray Hill.

The fleet of 10 new US-made 48 seater tramcars, was welcomed by a large crowd and "run smoothly with an entire absence of the inconvenience of the old horse cars"

Adderley Street

As the passenger transport system develop, Adderley Street cemented itself as the focus of the tramway system.Trams parked right in the centre of the street, while passengers had to walk across the road to embark.


Smallest tram

One of the smallest trams supplied in 1896, mounted n a four-wheel truck. The frnt view, which depending on its direction, could also be the end of an early electric tram.


Office and car-shed at the toll

The toll bar can be seen to the extreme right - 1896


Adderley Street

Early electric rail tram in Adderley Street running alongside horse-drawn wagons

1897 - Port Elizaberth
Electric trams in Port Elizaberth start running, operations of The Cape Electric Tramways Group expand beyond cape Peninsula.
16 June 1897

PE's first trip

First trp for Port Elizaberth electric tramway - 16 June 1897


PE small trams

One of the original small double-check tramcars from the Port Elizaberth Tramways Limited fleet.

late 1890's

Electric rail-tram

No 62 tram.

A line from Adderley Street to Wyneberg opens
1899 - The War
Anglo-Boer War breaks out


Electric trams over the mountain to Cape's premier seaside resort

24 July 1900

Sea point Station

1901 - Procurement of Sea Point
Sea Point Railways is purchased by The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited with the intention to further the electricity line.
1901 - The Boers War ends
1901 - Camps Bay Tramway
After a big struggle to develop roads and track over the mountain tp Camps Bay, the Camps bay Tramway Company is formed.. A shed and power station are built at Camps Bay.

Camps Bay

Camps Bay Tramway Company's power station and tram shed


Tram nearing the Camps Bay terminus.


Camps Bay tram

A Camps Bay Tram in Adderley Street. (new line) Photograph: HiltonT@Fickr

early 1900s

Victoria Road

Electric tram heading up Victoria Road in Camps Bay.


Toll Power Station upgrade

A new, Larger boiler house was built at the toll power station in 1902. The original brick smokestack was replaced by a taller of iron.


Braaken River Bridge, PE

Port Elizaberth's first electric tramway was ceremoniously opened on 16 June 1897.

1902 - Early experiment with buses
The first motor buses were tried out in Cape Peninsula. A bus service from Fish Hoek station to Kommetijie was initiated, but the sand roads proved to tedious. In Cape Town itself, the municipality would not allow buses to operate in the city for almost another decade.


The early buses that were tried on the Kommetjie-Muzenberg bus circa 1904.

24 July 1900

Wynberg Shed


Burnside Road

In 1901 a branch line was opened in Burnside Road, Tamboerskloof.
Photograph: South African Library

9 November 1901 - Sea Point to Camps Bay
On 9 November 1901, the tramline from Sea Point to Camps Bay was opened and the first electric tram went through to Camps Bay. The cars were long, low single-deckers, chocolate and cream colour. Some of the trams had a small glassed-in saloon in the centre.
1902 Scenic route to Camps bay
The first electric tram to Camps Bay via Kloof nek begins operation. A trade union is formed by running staff.
early 1900s

Mountain Tramway, Camps Bay

Post Card form the early 1900s- the spectacular line from kloof Nek to Camps Bay was on the unnamed track afterwards called Camps Bay Drive. This was intended exclusivley for trams. It only became a public road for cars in 1930.


Strathmore Road

Tram at strathmore Road, Camps Bay early 1900s


Toll Power Station upgrade

Construction on the new iron smokestack to replace the brick


Braaken River Bridge, PE

Port Elizaberth's first electric tramway was ceremoniously opened on 16 June 1897.

1904 - Post -war population increase
The Anglo-Boer War resulted in a population increase in Cape Town, as people flee the conflict in the Transvaal.
Economic depression is rife. The Cape government expropriates Sea Point Railways under guarantee from Green Point municipality to meet interest on capital and working losses. The Cape Electric Tramway Company Limited recieves E41,000 (R82,000) compensation.


The arrival of the motor bus in Cape Town

1910 - The Union
The Union od South Africa is formed, brining with a new sprint of enterprise
1910 - The motor bus
In 1910, despite the fact that WW1 was looming, a revolutionary innovation was evolvingL the motor bus. There were many benefitsto this new form of transport, not least the opportunity to expand into new areas that could not be reached by trams, without needing to provide overhead electric traction lines.

Early motor buses

Taken in circa 1910 in Vredehoek Cape Town.

Cape Town's smaller municipalities amalgamate into the new, powerful Cape Town Municipality, which works more closely with the Tramway Company to expand its services.

Garage construction

Motor bus garage, Cape Town, in construction- enclosed by Barkey's letter No.528 1/11/1913

The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited acquires petrol-eletric buses.
1917 - The Carabanc
A brand new luxurious passenger vehicle - the Carabanc - is introduced. Its seats are made of leather and it features a six-hoped cart hood with side curtains, which suits Cape Town's climate
1918 - Influenza
Worldwide influenza epidemic. Transport services are halted for a week.

Mr Cardinal's

Wynberg to Hout Bay bus taken in Hout Bay in circa 1918


Early Single-Deck bus

Details unkown


California car'

This single deck five window 'California car', built by Brill, was well known to commuters on the Oranjezicht and Kloof Nek routes in 1910.

1911 - Request for motor buses in Cape Town
After the failed introduction of buses in 1902, almost a decade later the motor bus was tried again. City Tramways' general manager, AS Giles, penned a request to the Cape Town Municipality for the operation of buses in the city. In August the request was granted - albeit for a E12 fee and a mac speed of 16kph. City Tramways acquired its first Leyland buses, which had a fixed roof, 5 rows of seats, four-cylinder 55hp engine and a top speed of 32kph.

Early motor buses

Motor bus Entering first cutting, Chapman's Peal Road.

1914 - World War I begins
Parts are in short supply and airpot is disrupted.

Garage Operational

Motor bus garage, Cape Town in operation: March 1914

1915 - Trade union
The dirst union in the bus industry is formed. In 1916 a strike by union workers over a dismissal falls and the union is disbanded

Adderley Street

Electric trams are still fully operational and popular. Here you can see the various models of transport. The Camps Bay tram outside the railway station in Adderley Street surrounded by crowds of holiday-makers.

1918 - TOWU
The Cape Town and Camps Bay Tramway Workers Industrial Union is formed. It will later be known as the Tramway and Omnibus Workers Union (Cape) - Towu
1919 - Union strike
The union strikes over wages. The result is higher wages and higher fares. The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited offers to sell its understanding to the City Council, but there are no takers.


Difficult years for trams

1920's - Competitors and "pirates"
During the 1920's, many samml privately-owned motor buses appeared on the scene, competing for passenger along the tram routes. The growing of these operators, some with only one bus on the road, developed into a serious threat to the tramways systems. A force "war" between these small "pirates" (as they were called) and the tramway company transpired.

Many of these "pirates" operated with sub-standard, hommade vehicles, unsuited for the rigours of public transport, and poorly maintained. These faced none of the obligations to conform to stringently enforced fare levels, routes, timetables, wage and other regulations. The "pirates" were characterised by irresponsible driving, inadequate vehicle maintainance and minimal staff wages. Rival buses would race at high speeds and cut in to get waiting passengers. A municipal regulation ultimately had to be passed to stop conductors badgering people to board their buses.

Disregards for speed limit was endemic. The trams were disadvantaged with slower speed. With the "pirates undercutting trams and changing convenient fares, the "pirates" all but put the tramway company out of business.

Bus to Wynberg

Bus to Wynberg leaving Beach Hotel, Hout Bay taken time in 1920.

1921 - Route to the docks
The docks bus route is restarted and a new service starts from Mouille and Three Anchor Bay.

PE Clydesdale motor buses


PE Workshop

Similarly in Port Elizaberth, motor buses were operational. Four of the Coy's motorbuses in the workshop.

late 1920's

City Tramways Strand Street Garage

late 1920's

February 1928 - 1'st Double-decker

The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited acquires SA's first double-decker bus. In February 1929, the Leyland company in England sent out their latest double-decker motor bus, a 48 seater, petrol-engine TD1 Titan, as a demonstrator to South Africa. The Top deck was roofed, though not the stairs. It had six-cylinder, overhead-camshaft, 6.8 litre petrol engine and four speed "crash" gearbox. City Tramways general manager, MR WF Long, met the bus as soon as it landed on the quayside.


Local regulations did not permint double-deck motor vehicles and special exemption had to be obtained. The bus was to be tested in Johannesburg and sent to be exhibited in the Rand Show. The bus had to be driven up because SA Railways refused to accept it because of its height. The journey to JHB to several days to be presented many challenges due to traitorous roads, breakdowns and delays but manage to turn heads and attract crows on the way. The trips was described by Autocar magazine as "a remarkable performance - the result of an almost impossible"


After the display of the bus at the Rand Easter Show, where it turned many geads, the TD1 was driven to Durban, its next port of call. Finally, several months later the bus was shipped back to Cape Town, where authorities sufficiantly impresses to relax to the ordinance forbidding double-deck buses. Taken into the City Tramways fleet it ran on the Sea Point route for some years. Once the open stairs had been enclosed and roofed in the company's workshops, the TD1 gave yoeman service throughout WWII and was not withdrawn from service until Dec 1957, having covered well over 1.6 million kilometers.


Toll Gate Depot

A staff group at Toll Gate Depot in 1920

1920 - The Council's interest
There is another strike and another fares increase. The Council consider purchasing The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited. In 1921 however, City Council rejects take-over proposal by large majority.
1922 - A new record
The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited transports *31 million passengers* annually
1924 - Two-trolly trams
The company introduces new trams with 2 trolleys to cater for the increase passenger demand
1925 - "Pirate" bus war backlash
Warfare erupts between different bus operators. Between 1915 to 1927 large number of "pirate buses" start competing with The Cape Electric Tramway Company Limited. To combat the competiotion, between 1927-1929, City Tramways spent E100,000 on additional buses for its fleet, but to no avail.The company is no longer profitable and for the first time in the group's history in 1928 it could not pay dividends to its shareholders.
late 1920's

Coy Motobus

late 1920's

1926 - Competition grow even bigger
By now there are 53 licensed buses altogether in Capr Town, of which City Tramways, owned 31, running on 12 different routes. The following year, Cape Town's total grew to 127 and by 1929 to 244.
1928 - Reduced daily service
Pirate bus competition leads to reduction of daily service. Only 2 trams south of Mowbry remains, purely to maintain the right to operate the route.

1st Double-decker bus

Ingenious thinking by the crew of the first double-decker bus saved the day when overchanging rock presented a challenge in Bains Kloof, shortly after its departure from Cape Town, on its epic journey... The Height of the overchanging rock was first measured with a long branch. after driving very slowly they had to deflate the back tyres halfway through until finally passing safely.


Enter Golden Arrow

1929 - Cape Town looks forward despite the Great Depression
In 1929, the City of Cape Town has well-established municipality., a sustainable population and all the anemities its citizens could expect. While the world was feeling the Great Depression, Cape Town, however was a city looking forward. It was against this setting that *Golden Bus Services* was formed.
The Golden Arrow
In the same year that Sir Henry Seagrave broke the world land speed record, with a speed of 370kph in a car named The Golden Arrow, Sher Pasvolsky (50), a modest businessman who emigrated from Centrak Europe, started Golden Arrow Bus Services with a single, second hand 18 seater. He was soon joined by his son Issa and daughter Mary, who managed the clerical side.

Issy Pasvolsky

Son of the founder of Golden Arrow Bus Services, Sher and Issy drove and maintained the buses themselves in the early years.

1929 - Growing
The first routes were in the area of Sea Point, followed soon after by services that ran between the city centre and suburbs of Diep Review, Gleemoore and Crawford. Issy drove and maintained the first buses himself, and then succeded in then unregulated transport sector largely by getting to the departure point first - by being on the job by 03h00.

Golden Arrow's original buses

The original bus (right) was augmented by a second bus, with Issy Paslovsky (second from the right).


Sher Pasvolsky

Founder of the modest Golden Arrow Bus Services


The first Golden Arrow bus

The second-hand 18-seater bus, with Issy Pasvolsky (centre)m, who was later appointed managing director of The Cape Electric Tramways (1949).


The 4'th bus

Soon, the third and forth buses were added to the Golden Arrowm here Sher Paslovsky (centre) poses with the newly augmented fourth bus.


The first steps to trackless trams

1930 - New road legislations
New Road Traffic Ordinance comes into force. Bus owners are subject to specific routes, timetables and fares. Pasvolsky's activities are confirmed to services running east from Mowbray. They have a fleet of 5 buss and 20 employees.

Those failing to comply with the regulations - enforced thorough the newly-established Local Road Transpotation Boards - soon lost the certificates. Others sold to Competitors.

1932/3 - GABS acquire other bus operators
Golden Arrow Bus Services' fleet grows to 10 buses when Pasvolsky acquire other bus service operators including J&C Bus Services.
1930 - Testing the first tramless tram

Limitations of trams tied to tracks in the streets became apparent. There was also the question of replacing rails and other expensive equipment.

The first double-decker 'traceless tram' (or trolleybus) was sent to SA by British's Guy Motors in 1930 to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system used in the UK. Problem was that the existing overhead (rail tram) current collection was by means of single wire, the return circult being made through the rails. The solution to operate the trackless vehicle, was to trail a skete in the tramline to complete the circuit.

The first test-drive by The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited was a lunch time trip that caused such a mad rush that the police had to be called to keep the peace. 86 passengers were transported in the 59-seater. Following the trails in Cape Town the vehicle was shipped to Durban, and after tests there it was towed to Johannesburg.



The selling space for commercial advertising on trams and exteriors was a long established practice - from before 1850. For many decades, urban buses made sure they retained their standard house liveries.



The selling space for commercial advertising on trams and exteriors was a long established practice - from before 1850. For many decades, urban buses made sure they retained their standard house liveries.

End 1932 - Conversion begin
Conversion began on overhead lines of the Garden route. A considerate amount of work was required for the switch-over of wires, removal of the tram rails and other technical conversions. A specialised engineer was hired from England as the company, which laid ot an estomated E230,000 euros had no experiance in this new technology.
1933 - CET
The Cape Electric Tramways buy Heyla Bus Services ( Hanover Street and Main Road)
1934 - Ebenezer Road Depot
In anticipation for the new order of trackless trams will be arriving from England, management had to find a place to store the new fleet. With 50 new trackless trams replacing 30 electric trams; a new garage had to be constracted. The Ebenezer Road Depot is built to house the trams and motor buses. A new road (Porter Road) even had to be constructed to provide easier access from Dock Road to the garage.
1935 - Trackless trams arrive & first trackless tram route open
In 1935, 50 two-axle trackless trams arrive from Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies in Englan, with bodies by Weymanns. 30 were 62-seat double decker and the rest 39-seat single deckers.

The first trackless tram route is opened, from St George's Street to Ebenezer Raod Depot, then Tamboers Kloof. It is an event announced by the Cape Times as a "a good day for Cape Town".

Ransomes trams arrive from England


24 April 1936

Single-deck trackless tram en route to Kloof Nek

Trackless trams run to kloof nek, Oranjezicht, Gardens and Hanover Street. It is said that people poured out of buildings to touch the vehicle as it passed. The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited purchase Northern Transport Company.


A Leyland TD5 diesel circa 1937

Fleet no 21 of the original Golden Arrow Bus Services company in the "orange-abd-cream" livery. Issy Pasvolsky posing with the bus. It will eventually be scrapped in 1953, when both the fleet number and registration were transferred to a new Diamler double-decker.

1938 - Longest trackless trams route runs to
Cape Town again entered the pages of history with the longest tracless tram route in the country. The 14km Cape Town-Wynberg section was opened in November 1938. On 29 January 1939, the section to Sea Point was taken into use. Instead of working these routes separayely,through-services was provided from Wynberg by way of the city centre to Sea Point (20km), effectively creating the country's longest trackless tram route. In wiring this, some 80km of copper wire and 1,00 street poles were put in place.


The selling space for commercial advertising on trams and exteriors was a long established practice - from before 1850. For many decades, urban buses made sure they retained their standard house liveries.

1930 - Isolvency
Bus competition results in the closure of Milnerton Railway and the Inslovency of The Camps Bay Tramway Company. The last tram runs to Camps Bay.

Early Golden Arrow bus

Miss Pasvolsky (now Mrs MF Flax) and Mr H Medinicoff


First Guy trackless tram

The demostration Guy trackless sent to SA in Whale Street.

1932 - Permission
The Cape Town city council granted permission for the introduction of the traceless trams on the Tamberskloof, Kloof Street and Hanover Street routes.
1932 - First trackless tram return to Cape Town
The Guy trackless tram, which had been used for demonstration in JHB, was returned to Cape Town. Back in the mother city, City Tramways hired the vehicle for 12 months and further trail running took place on the Gardens tram routes.
1933 - GABS' first depot
With the growing fleet, a depot was established in Klipfontein Road, Rondebosh East. This address continues to serve as the Golden Arrow HQ for 30 years, though the original wood iron shed was replaced in due course by proper sheds, workshops and offices.

Golden Arrow bus to Crawford

Bus is personally seen off by Sher Pasvolsky.

1934 - CET
The Cape Electric Tramways buy the Peninsula Transport Company. This was followed in 1936 by the acquisition of the Northern Transport Company (Pty) Limited.

First diesel bus

CA 2054 was a Leyland LT7 diesel, purchased new in 1935, was one of the single-decker acquired by City Tramways from M&K Bus services (Maitland & Jensington, Cape Town). It was scrapped on 1951.


Max Pasvolsky

When Mary Pasvolsky left to marry a locl doctor in 1936, her older brother Max joined Golden Arrow Bus Services. In the early days Max and Issy both drove buses, doubling as depot mechanics

1938 - Order or more trackless trams
A number of technical problems were experienced with the Ransomers vehicle, so for the next order City Tramways turned to another British manufacture. In 1938, 60 Sunbeam three-axle MS2 double-deckers arrived (Nos 51-110), with 66-seat Weymanns bodies.
29 January 1939

Sea Point terminus

At the Sea Point terminus one of Cape Town's new trackless trams turns on the dirst day's run. This run is part of the city's longest trackless tram route.


Good bye electric rail-trams, hello WW II

29 January 1939 - Saying goodbye to rail trams
Even before the trackless tram conversion began, the nuber of electric trams seen on the roads began to decrease. Cape Town becomes one of the first cities in the world to completely cease the operations of electric rail trams. The last rail-tram made its final journey from Adderley Street to Sea Point. The occasion was marked by the Mayor of Cape Town praising the efforts of the tramways company, claiming quite rightly that it could track its progrss with development of the city.

A huge crowd gathered to send off the rail-tram, No 102, which had capacity of 106 but left with 106 passengers. People scribbled remarks on the side of the tram: RIP, faithful to the end, Goodbye pal and Totsiens.
29 January 1939

Flowers for occasion

Flower sellers made a wreath in honour of the trip this last electric rail-tram will take from Adderley Street to Sea Point. Tramwaymen placed the wreath - "with Deeper Sympathy"

22 April 1905

Skeleton of Cape Town's last electric tram

In the yard at Toll Gate Depot

1939 - Start or WW II
September 1939

War front map

A map was erected in Adderley Street to familiarise people with the war front during the Second World War. Photograph: HiltonT@Flickr


Call to arms - Women

The Cape Town Tramway Company's active participation in the call to arms for women during the Second World War.


Ingenious methods

To ensure the bus services continue during the war years and due to absence of spare parts, repairs and maintenance were effected. As a result buses are built and maintained with ingenious methods that would not have been considered in normal times

29 January 1939

Last trip's ticket

Special tickets had been printed for the occasion of the last electric tram journey from adderley Street to Sea Point . Over 20 motor cars followed the tram down Somerset Road hooting, while passengers sang heartly. The oldest employee at City Tramways, superintendent Cecil Robinson, drove the tram to Sea Point while its oldest driver, motorman James Bremmer, took over the controls for the return journey.

As it entered the shed at Toll Gate depot for the last time, a crowd of the tramway employees who had gathered there blew whistles and sang Auid Long Syne.

29 January 1939

Adderley Street

A few minutes after the last rail trams had passed from Adderley Street, workmen were cutting away the overhead cabies.

1939 - Golden Arrow during the war
At the outbreak of the war, only 2 substantial bus operations remained in the Cape Town metropolitan area in addition to the tramway company - Southern Transport (Pty) Limited and Golden Arrow. Each ranservices in its own defined area, effectively eliminating the destructive and unsafe competition that had existed in the 1920s

Golden Arrow's fleet of 12 buses are transporting 1.4 million passengers annually, no mean feat under trying conditions.

Call to arms - Men

The Cape Town Tramway Company's active participation in the call to arms for men during the Second World War.

1939 - Staying on the road during the war years
In 1939, when hostilities of WW II broke out, the combined bus and trackless tram fleet in Cape Town were operating routes totalling some 178km, including Wynberg, Bellville and Camps Bay and were 49 million passengers over a total of nearly 13 million kilometres.

Although the rolling stock situation was enviably healthy for such trying times, the sourcing of spare parts soon became a problem. What could not be bought had to be made. Before long, the Tollgate workshops were turning out all the paraphemalia associated with overhead wiring, much of the small bracket material being cast by the company's emplyees. Tyres, which were beyond home-grown creativity were among the biggest difficulties.

Motor buses caused many headaches, being dependent on imported and spares that were unobtainable. The war years were very trying for City tramways Company, Many employees left the service of the company to enlist while cost of fuel and maintenance increased sharply, with the result that profit declined


The war continues, but so does growth in the CT transport industry

1940 - Wartime workshop
In a section of the workshops at Tollgate, specially set aside for war production, 28 male and 40 female staff mechanics nose containers for bombs, among many other components manufacturing for the army. Automatic turret latches imported from America featured prominently in activity.
1940 - Holiday guide and fares
In contrast to the situation behind the scenes at City Tramways, the official holiday guide to Cape Town for 1940 gave no hint that the world was at war. Cheerfully assuring visitors that the Peninsula was "well served with transport facilities". It listed nine resturants offering lunches for 1-6 (one shilling and sixpence or 15 cent) . Taxis asked 1/8 for the first mile and 3d (three-pence) for every sixth of a mile thereafter. According to the guide bus services charged 4d (four-pence) to Sea Point and 7d (seven-pence) to Newlands.
 Fact Box
A trackless tram ticket from Cape Town to Wynberg during war years cost 9d (nine-pence), a penny more than first class on the train. Trains on the other hand offered reduced-fare returns. Second class was even cheaper and third class cheaper still. Over the years there were many letters to newspapers, suggesting that transport run by private enterprise had to be more expensive for the user. Bus fares, it was argued that it would be lower if there were no need to make profit. It was a simplistic argument ignoring the fact that there profit funded dividends to the shareholders, who had put up capital in the first place (avoiding the need to depend on public funds)

Citi Tramways not covered all its own costs and paid dividends but faced additional expanses not encountered buy municipally-owned bus operations. In 1940, the company paid E7,350 euros to Provincial Admistration, and E2,800 euros to the municipality, in fees
early 1940s

First complete locally produced bus

The previous years brought many problems for Golden Arrow, but after much trail and error a complete bus was produced locally.


Import possible again after the war

After WW II ended in Septermber 1945, import of buses again became possible and here a Golden Arrow bus is offloaded at the Cape Town docks


Shipment of buses

Golden Arrow bus is offloaded at the Cape Town docks


1947 - CET after the war

The years that followed after the war were slow and challenging. Those in the group's workshops were often required to work around the dock to get operations back on track. The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited began expanding into the country areas around Capr Town, first buying out Boland Transport Limited, which operated in Stellenbosch.

The assets of Metropolitan Tramways Company Limited and The Southern Suburb of Cape Town Tramways Company Limited are sold to the City Tramways Company Limited (all subsidiaries of the latter) which becoes the operating company
Golden Arrow acquire Southern Transport (Pty) Limited, running buses from Wynberg and Plumstead to Ottery

Growth at Golden Arrow continues and in 1948 saw substantial extension of the depot in Klipfotein Road, which was now able to accommodate 60 buses.
1948 - The old tram rails are removed
Forever altering Cape Town's street scene
late 1940s

Daimler double-decker

The Daimlers gave yeoman service, notably during the difficult yeara of WW II. Some of the vehicles dating from 1930s were still running by 1960s. After the war, a handful of Daimler CWG6 and more than 60 CVG6 vehicles were placed in service in Cape Town. A few were imported, complete with Weymanns boadies, but the next batch was assembled from CDK parts at City Tramways' Tollgate workshops. The rest were put together and vodued at the new Bus Bodieas plant in PE.


Wartime workshop

During the war the company set aside a section of the workshops for the production of ordinance components. Pictured are women employees on the production line at the New Market Street workshop -1940 - 1945

Early 1940s - Golden Arrow growth

Early 1940s would see significant growth, with Golden Arrow servicing Langa Township, which had previously only relied on rail and also buying out other operators.

1941 - Golden Arrow Bus Services also purchased Pinelands Bus Services Pty Limited and Central Bus Services Pty Limited
1942 - The acquisition of Klipfontein Bus Services
1943 - Golden Arrow Bus Services purchases Eureka Bus Services


Golden Arrow Chassis

The chassis team improvised to keep Golden Arrow's bus services going during the war years.

1945- End of the war
As the world celebrated the end of the war, Golden Arrow by now took of 32 buses in its flet, 13 having been acquired during the take overs. The fleet was by that stage in desperate need of repairs or replacement. Opportunities arose to buy new buses and build new depot, but funding was needed.

Import after the war

Import of buses again became possible and here Golden Arrow bus is offloaded at Cape Town docks


Boland Transport Limited HQ

The headquarters in Stellenbosch of Boland Transport Limited, which the Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited took over in 1947.



The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited began expanding into the country areas around Cape Town, first buying out Boland Transport Limited, which operated in Stellenbosch

1946 - Golden Arrow becomes a limited company
In 1946, a new company, Golden Arrow Rail Feeder Bus Services Limited, was floated on the JHB Stock Exchange. This acquired the business of Golden Arrow Bus Services, which had then became a limited company. The initial subscription comprised 720,000 five shieling ordinary shares and 20,000 6 per cent cumulative shares of E1 euros each - raising the capital of 200,000 euros. A year later the subscribed capital increased to 250,000 euros

In its first full year Golden Arrow Rail Feeder Bus Services Limited transported 12 million passengers, to raise profit of 23,136 euros. A mere two years later profit soared to 40,133 with 16 million passengers transported.
The Cape Electric Tramways Company Limited transports 129 million passenger annually

End of the road for trackless trams

It is interesting to note that of the 861 double-decker trackless trams or trolley buses that ran outside of Britain no less that 522 were to be found in South Africa. In Cape Town, 25 additional double-decker trackless trams had entered service in 1948, but these were to be the city's last. All too soon, the trackless trams were seen to have disadvantages that outweighed that of the "silent service" with which it had become welcomed. Electricity cost is a great deal less that diesel duel, but everything else was becoming disproportionally expensive - overhead line equipment and its maintenance. Cape Town was the first large city to dismantle its trolleybus network. This is bird's eye view of Darling Street

May 1949 - A new wholly - South African company
In May 1949 it was announced that the assests of Cape Electric Tramways Limited, which was registered in England, were to be transferred to a newly-registered South African company, Cape Electric Tramways (1949) Limited

The fleet of 53 trams owned by Cap Electric Tramways on its formation in 1898 had grown to 146 trackless trams and 164 buses in Cape Town and 119 buses in PE, valued in total at 769,611 euros: other assests included 388,592 euros for land and buildings. Passengers number had soared to 137 million - a far cry from 9 million in 1898. The future is looking bright.


Good bye electric rail-trams, hello WW II

1950 - GABS carry 16 million passengers
It started a pension fund for the employees, to which it contributed 5,000 euros in the first 12 months. Following the signing of a new wage agreement in 1951, the company was obliged to as apply to the local Road Transportation Board for an increase in fares - a penny in most cases - which was still in force 10 years later

City Tramways New depot at Diep River

In 1952, a large new depot was built for City Tramways in Diep River, Cape Town, accommodating 120 buses.

early 1950s

Anti-apartheid demonstration in Darling Street, Cape Town

During a lunchtime anti-apartheid demonstration in Darling Street, people lined the street infront of the General Post Office to protest petty apartheid policies in post offices in the Cape Peninsula. The Cape Times newspaper described the approximately 1,000 demonstrators as communists. Photograph: Cape Times Collection

August 1954 - Mamre
A bus service operating between Cape Town and Mamre (56km) was acquired by Cape Electric and named Mamre Transport Company (Pty) Limited. Toutes were extended to serve the town of Malmesbury in the following years.
1954 - Strand, Somerset West & Gordons Bay
Golden Arrow Bus Services aquires Popular Bus Services (Strand, Somerset West & Gordons Bay) and a new company is formed to operate this: Cape Western Bus Services Pty Limited
1955 - Paarl
A company serving the towns of Paarl and Wellington was purchased by Cape Electric and Renamed Paarl Transport and Services (Pty) Limited.
1955 - GABS new depot
At the time Golden Arrow is still very much a family-run business. Mac Pasvolsky's son Ivor joined the business. In 1955, Golden Arrow built a new depot capable of housing 120 buses on the south side of Klipfontein Road, replacing the wood and iron shed dating from 1933
1955 - Another new depot
Also in 1955, a new depot for City Tramways was completed in Maitland, a cost of 100,000 euros to accommodate buses running to ther nothern areas of the city

William Randall

In 1931 Randall joined City Tramways as a labourer, constructing a double tram carriageway between Salt River Road and Durham Avenue. When this job was completed, he started in stores and then went to the carpenter's shop, where he was put in charge of the wood store.

He named his youngest son Eben, after Ebenezer Road depot.

He went on to be the first coloured conductor during apartheid for the Nyanga Passenger Transport Company Limited


Ebenezer Road trackless tram and bus shed


 1953 - Apartheid
Under apartheid legislation, the bus companies were required to implement segregation on certain buses and routes.

Cape Town buses were in fact the last in SA to be segregated by law, along the lines of race. Initially hotly resisted, bus apartheid was not imposed overnight, bus enforced gradually in the hostile environmnet of the late 1950s.

In 1953, transport minister Paul Sauer launched an official inquiry into the feasibility of bus apartheid in the city. The managing director of both Golden Arrow Bus Services and City Tramways were appointed onto the Sauer's committee of iquiry, which included a number of members with state appointments.

Despite some opposition to the committee's leaked recommendations, bus apartheid in Cape Town was approved by Dauer in August 1956, and progressively implemented amid criticism, protests and boycotts from all sectors of the local population - all proving futile. Not only did the use of public transport became increasingly undignified for people of colour, but these laws also impacted negatively on the bus operations and the efficiency of service.

Most Cape Town bus services remained open to everyone, but on certain routes, demarcated seats were reserved for white passengers. Not frequently this resulted in absurd situations where passengers had to stand next to vacant seats as they were not allowed to occupy.
December 1954
Buses reserved for white persons were introduced in parallel to the ordinary service along Voortrekker Road to Bellvilee and later similar arrangements were made on the Sea Point -City-Wynberg Main Road. In the case "whites only" diesel buses were superimposed on the trackelss tram service. In any event most people preferred to take the first vehicle that arrived. Few people were sufficiently apartheid-conscious to wait 30 minutes for a segregated motor bus
1955 - Nyanga
Nyanga Passenger Transport Company Limited, Staffed exclusively by black personnel, was formed by Cape Electric, linking the township of Nyanga to the railway stations at Claremont (south) and Bellville (north)

First two coloured operators

The first two coloured men to operate a trolley bus in Capr Town were (left and right) William Randall as the conductor and MR C Adams as a driver.


The big business deal

1956 - The big business deal
1956 was a momentous year for Golden Arrow Bus Services, which proved itself in its 27 years in operation, and would now embrace the biggest role yet, far outstripping any competitor. By then Cape Electric group had acquired and consolidated all other bus operators in Cape Town metropolitan area and surroundings - exept for the Golden Arrow companies.

In fact, Golden Arrow was doing better in financial terms than larger counterpart. It had the advantage of generally shorter and better patronised routes, being essentially a rail-feeder operation. Matters came to a surprising head, when it was revealed that Golden Arrow had acquired a controlling shareholding in Cape Electric Tramways, the holding company of City Tramways in Cape Town - this caused something of a sensation in the press.

The Cape Argus reported "transaction - one of the biggest in the history for SA transport business - is unusual that a comparatively small company has gained control of a much bigger one"

The combined capacity of the companies, including PE saw 199mil passengers transported over 36,8 million kilometres. Instead of Golden Arrow taking over Cape Electric, this group - retaining Clive Corder as a Chairman - was restrucured so that Golden Arrow became the subsidiary, alongside City Tramways, Port Elizaberth Electric Tramways, and the other associated companies.

The benefits of the merger were endless. The two companies would no longer compete on the same routes and they can cover a far greater area - therefor catering for the Cape Town's expanding industry and ultimately servicing the vast number of the population, resettled under the Group Area Act. The merger companiea also had a greater buying power and could streamline their efforts to meet administrative demands.
SA Government "Commissions of Enquiry" is established through the whole greater Cape from the metropolitan area.
The first rear-engine double-decker (Atlantean No 374) is introduced, but later withdrawn.
late 1950s

Leyland double-decker buses


Simonstown Bus Services HQ

In 1956 the Cape Electric Tramways Company purchased Simonstown Bus Services (Pty) Limited into which was later merged a bus service running between Fish Hoek Station, Kommetjie and Noordhoek.

The depot evolved in the late 1940s and old naval stores building.

Golden Arrow Rail Feeder Bus Services Limited sells its 3 transport operating subsidiaries - Golden Arrow Bus Services, Cape Western Bus Services and Cape Bantu Passenger Transport - to the Cape Electric Tramways Group, Golden Arrow Rail Feeder Bus Services Limited remains as an investment company, but changes its name to Golden Arrow Investment Limited.

Although in City Tramways and Golden Arrow Bus Services were now part of the same group, both continued to run under the their existing names. The road operations of Golden Arrow persisted as a separate entity for many years, retaining company's characteristic orange-and-cream colours
Andrew Fernwick (Who joined City Tramways in 1932) retired as managing director of both City Tramways and Port Elizaberth Tramways in 1957, being succeeded by Issy Pasvolsky, who was also appointed deputy chairman of Cape Electric.

Golden arrow bus depot

A large new depot was built in Diep River, Cape Town, accommodating 120 buses


Moving forward together

1960 - 204 million passengers
By the end of 1960, the Cape Electric fleet, including Port Elizabeth consisted of 600 diesel buses and 139 trackless trams. In that year it transported 204 million passengers over nearly 43 million kilometres.

In the six largest cities, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth were the only ones without municipal-owned and operated bus undertakings.

Its routes covered separate municipalities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Goodwood, Parow, Bellville, Kuils River, Milnerton, Pinelands, Fish Hoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Strand, Simon's Town, Walmer and also larger areas outside the municipalities, which were administered by Divisional Councils (e.g.,. Hout Bay).

Board of Directors of the Cape Electric Tramways (1949) Limited

Left to right (front): Dr AE Flax, I Pasvolsky (deputy Chairman and Managing Director), CS Corder (Chairman), MJ Pasvolsky, LJ Botha. (Black): LM Rood, H Medinifcoff, RA Gregory (Secretary), GW Robb (General Manager, The City Tramways Company Limited), JN Hinshelwood, Ac Ferrwick, EE Grubb.

1961 - Decimalisation
For a 100 years, the fares had been collected in shillings and pence. The new Rands and cents were simpler to manage. The change-over made life uncomfortable for the conductors, with two different systems- and two sets of coins - in use at the same time.

Simonstown Bus Services HQ

In 1956 the Cape Electric Tramways Company purchased Simonstown Bus Services (Pty) Limited into which was later merged a bus service running between Fish Hoek Station, Kommetjie and Noordhoek. The depot evolved in the late 1940s from an old naval stores building



One of the 10 red double-decker London buses- complete with their original English advertisements - caused a sensation whenever they ran


New look - door at the front, Leyland PD3/5

City Tramways fleet no 593 with Bus Bodies 72-seat, forward entrance body in March 1964. The first batch of these vehicles were ordered to replace the trackless trams. Highly successful and reliable, an economical runner in respect of fuel usage, tyre wear etc, the PD3/5 became the group's standard double-decker until Leyland's discontinued the model later in the decade.


Leyland 7 RT diesel

A former London Transport (fleet RTL 694) Leyland 7RT diesel with a 56-seater Metropolitan-cammell Carriage& Wagon Co Ltd body, acquired by City Tramways (fleet no 755) in October 1965 and withdrawn in 1975

late 1960s

Leyland PD3/5

Highly successful and reliable, an economical runner in respect of fuel usage, tyre wear etc, the PD3/5 became the group's standard double-decker until Leyland discontinued the model later in the decade.

1961 - Centenary milestones for transport in Cape Town
SA celebrated becoming a republic in 1961 and, in the same year, Cape Electric Tramways celebrated a century of progress - moving from horse to diesel and taking giant strides in the process. It is by now the largest road passenger transport operator in SA, and possibly on the continent.

Printers plate - celebrating 100 years

The printer's plate with the emblem used to mark 100 years of Tramways 1861-1961

1961 - "Caboose" service
During this centenary year, a "Caboose" service was started, collecting drivers and conductors from their homes for the first buses on the day and taking them home after the last bus had been returned to the sheds.
May 1962

Cape Times Headline

News reported that the city will stop running trackless trams

1963 - The ex Londoners
To assist in replacing the trackless trams, 10 red second-hand RT double-deckers in excellent condition were acquired between 1963-1966 from London Transport, which retired the vehicle prematurely. On arrival in 1963, the first RTs caused a sensation in Cape Town. They were complete with their English advertisements and were put into use on some Peninsula routes.
28 February 1964 - Cape Town's last trackless tram
The trackless tram were seen to have disadvantages that outweighed that of the "silent service" with which it had become welcomed. Electricity cost is a great deal less than diesel fuel, but everything else was becoming disproportionally expensive - overhead line equipment and its maintenance. Cape Town was the first large city to dismantle its network.

The last trackless tram journey takes place along the Hanover Street route. 'Set right' ticket machines are introduced the same year.
28 January 1964

Last trackless tram

Cape Towns last trackless tram making its final journey down Hanover Street.

1965 - Tollgate House
New headquarters of the Group, is opened at a special function by the Minister of Transport Ben Schoeman. The Pasvolskys also move Golden Arrow offices (which they had occupied in Klipfontein Road for 30 years) to the new 6-floor building at Tollgate in Woodstock.
1967 - Tollgate Holdings Limited
with the last trackless tram now history, the time had to come to reconsider the parent company's title. The word "electric" was obviously no longer appropriate; In addition, the group was developing interests in other fields. It was decided to replace Cape Electric Tramways (1949) Limited with an entirely new name - Toll Gate Holdings Limited its primary subsidiary was a new holding company for the group's scheduled transport operating subsidiaries - Cape Tramways (Pty) Limited.

Golden Arrow Bus Stop

Pasvolsky and members visit to the parade where the Golden Arrow Bus station in Strand Street is still operational today.

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