Interstate hikes up bus tarrifs

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According to Interstate CEO, George Mokhothu, the bus industry has suff ered severe losses in recent months, including retrenchments and the closure of many operators.

Local transport company, Interstate Bus Lines (IBL), will be increasing the price of fares next month after more than a year of no price hikes. This will mean that all multitravel coupons and cash tickets will increase by 6%.

This will result in an increase from R30 to R32 for a one-way commute from Botshabelo to Bloemfontein as of 1 March 2021, while a single trip from Central Park to the suburbs will go from R10,30 to R11.

According to IBL’s CEO, George Mokhothu, the transport provider cannot avoid price increases any further. This comes after the company postponed its 1 July 2020 annual tariff increase in an attempt to ease financial strain on its passengers. “The company initially proposed a 9% increase but the commuter representative council, also known as the JRMC, after further consultation with the department, reduced it to a 6% increase.

The conditions of the IBL contract with the Department of Police Roads and Transport, like all other bus companies in the whole country, provide for an annual tariff increase to offset the ever increasing operational costs,” he stated. Like many industries, the transport sector has felt the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown with national long-distance operator Grey Hound parking its buses for good after almost 40 years of service. This will reportedly affect more than 4 000 jobs.

“The entire bus sector has suffered severe losses and this has seen many operators retrenching employees and closing down businesses. Despite challenges faced by bus operators and the economic climate, IBL always strives to improve its service to the passengers.

To this end the company has acquired two tipper trucks and a TLB to assist the communities in repairing roads in its operational area. The company will also continue with its bus replacement plan to continue improving its fleet,” said Mokhothu.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele
nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za