End of the line for major Putco routes

With Putco not renewing three of its major Gauteng contracts, many commuters will likely begin to rely more on other bus services, such as Rea Vaya. (Delwyn Verasamy, MG)

With Putco not renewing three of its major Gauteng contracts, many commuters will likely begin to rely more on other bus services, such as Rea Vaya. (Delwyn Verasamy, MG)

Putco will not be renewing three of its contracts with the Gauteng department of transport in parts of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng municipalities as of Wednesday July 1, the bus company says.

“We are confident that the Gauteng department of roads and transport has prioritised a seamless change of bus operators in order to ensure that South African commuters in these areas will get to work, school and back home again with minimum disruption as of July 1 2015,” Putco’s managing director Franco Pisapia said on Monday.

The bus service’s contracts in Mamelodi, Meyerton and Kathorus would expire on Tuesday and not be renewed.

This would affect commuters using the route between Mamelodi and the Tshwane CBD in the north, the route between Evaton, Sebokeng, Orange Farm and Meyerton in the south as well the route between Kathorus, Edenvale, Germiston, Linbro Park, Johannesburg, Boksburg and Kempton Park in the east.

Tough finances
The contracts were no longer financially viable due to the company’s current operating and financial conditions.

Department spokesperson Octavia Mamabolo confirmed Putco’s cancelation of the three services.

She said reports that the commuter bus company would cancel all its services across Gauteng were untrue.

Transport MEC Ismail Vadi would clarify the matter on Tuesday during a briefing at one of Putco’s depots.

The department tweeted earlier that Putco’s decision had “the potential to leave many commuters and residents stranded with no transport operations to get to work or schools”.

Mamabolo reassured affected commuters that Autopax, a subsidiary of Prasa, would step in to replace Putco on all the subsidised routes within the areas.

She said Vadi had announced his department’s intention to renegotiate subsidised contracts with bus companies in Gauteng, during his budget speech vote last week.

Putco said in its statement that it had made the department aware of its intention not to renew some of its loss-making contracts as early as February, a month before the contracts were due to expire.

It planned on re-deploying all available buses and resources to its other contracted routes, it said.

“This change will affect approximately 180 of Putco’s current fleet of 1 900 buses.” –  News24

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