Yesterday’s Mercury (August 13, 2008) reported that the city is buy back the buses it sold to Remant Alton but still let Remant Alton run the service. The city is going to buy more new buses and let Remant Alton get its greasy paws on those too.
Sometimes you have to laugh or burst into tears. We sold the buses to them in 2003 for R70-million and are now buying them back for R405-million. And then we’re going spend another R192-million on 162 new buses. And Remant Alton is going to be given this bus fleet to run into the ground as well. It seems as if we are to pay off Remant Alton’s debts but I can’t think why.
At around the time of the sale to Durban Transport in 2003, I wrote in the second edition of Facts About Durban that the sale was a bad idea. Business, and especially the South African model which includes more naked greed than most anywhere else, is not the solution to supplying social services. I knew this but our city fathers, with all their large salaries, didn’t.
All I can say is: “I TOLD YOU SO !!!!“
** It seems as if the minibus taxi associations have been having a shooting war. There a spectacular picture on the front page of the Mercury of a taxi, whose driver had been shot and wounded, parked with its front wheels on the roof of a house in Mayville, its back wheels on steep bank and the body of the taxi suspended over a deep chasm. Lord knows how the vehicle managed to jump the gap.
** One cheerful thing about that issue of the Mercury is that they had a fact box on the front page with some stuff about the history of public transport in Durban. Most of these were drawn from the main Facts About Durban site and we were given credit for it.