On the buses, again

The Mercury on Friday, August 22, 2008, carried a long article on the background to the city’s sale of it buses to Remant Alton and the recent decision to buy them back. Remant Alton claims that they got into trouble because they did not receive as large a subsidy as other bus operators in the country. At the time of the original sale in 2003, I’m on record as saying that the sales was a mistake because the provision of a public service, such as transport, could not be done well by an organisation whose main objective was to make a profit.

Unfortunately, it seems as if the lesson has not been learned because, not only is Remant Alton going to be allowed to continue to manage the bus service until the expiry of their contract perriod, but the service will then be farmed out to a number of smaller operators.

This will also be a big mistake !!!

Note to city fathers: Don’t do it! The way to fix the bus service is for city to take over over the running of the buses as soon as possible. The prime advantage is that the bus service will not have to make a profit and the money, which would have been siphoned off, could be ploughed back into improving the service. Durban Transport once did a good job and it can again.

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