By Justus de Goede, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transportation:
Commuters who make use the Gautrain bus service have been left stranded at peak hours this week as bus drivers have downed tools, without notice, demanding meal breaks between 17h00 and 18h00.
Passengers have only learnt about these delays when arriving at the stations.
In December 2015, the DA asked the CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA), Jack van der Merwe, about the reported deficiencies in the bus service. In his reply, he indicated that the service was outsourced and the GMA therefore had no say in its functioning.
Given the integrated nature of Gautrain and the Gautrain bus service, this response is preposterous.
Some years ago, the CSIR had the following to say about the Gautrain bus service:
“The dedicated and auxiliary feeder and distribution services have a very important role to play in attracting users to the Gautrain. Planning, design and implementation of these services are crucial for ensuring sufficient levels of passengers make use of the Gautrain and that people convert to public transport”.
The bus service cannot dismissed as a loose-standing component of the transport system.
The buses should occupy an important part of Gautrain planning and thinking.
As the Gauteng taxpayer is paying for this service, the GMA should see to it that it functions to meet its responsibilities or give the contract to a company that can do so.
The GMA should take an urgent look at this important link in the Provincial public transport system.