By Dr Neil Campbell MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport:
As of tomorrow, 1 July 2015, many of the 80 000 commuters who make use of PUTCO bus services across Gauteng could awake to the possibility of being left stranded as a result of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport’s (GDRT) inability to effectively utilised bus subsidies.
While GDRT MEC, Ismail Vadi announced yesterday his department had made arrangements with Autopax, a subsidiary bus company of Passenger Rail Agency South Africa, to take over these routes – this move may be too little too late, as PUTCO has warned since the beginning of the year that it had been running at a loss and could no longer sustain several operations in the province.
The flaw lies in the mismanagement of the bus subsidy which GDRT receives from the National Department of Transport (NDOT). If funded and administered directly from the province, greater control could be exercised over its expenditure rather than the ad hoc manner in which it has been dealt with to date.
More should have been done by MEC Vadi to ensure this was done to improve and provide certainty for Gauteng’s bus commuters.
A key focus of this administration is to redress Apartheid social and geographic planning by bringing those who were once forced to the periphery closer to economic nodes.
For many, economic exclusion is still a reality.
How are the ills of the past to be undone when one of the crucial mechanisms to do so has been completely disregarded?
The DA will impress on MEC Vadi the urgency of this matter and how it must be dealt with sooner rather than later before another mode of transport in the province becomes untenable and negatively impacts the lives of residents.