R12m to take KZN bus drivers home

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Durban - eThekwini ratepayers have been forking out R12 million each year for the transportation of municipal bus drivers to their homes after each shift.

Bus operator Tansnat Durban has outsourced the transport to unnamed taxi operators.

This emerged on Thursday during a meeting of the economic development and planning committee.

The committee also approved a 9.4 percent increase in bus fares, although DA councillors abstained from voting.

The head of the eThekwini transport authority, Erik Moller, said this would cover other operational costs. He said the increase was based on a study that had been conducted by an independent consulting agency.

He said the fare increases were needed to cover the costs of running the South, Durban Central and Northern depots.

Moller was criticised for not having a detailed report on this, and he promised to table one at the next exco meeting.

Dean Macpherson (DA) said his party had abstained from voting for the increase because there were no details of who had been given the contract to transport the bus drivers.

Appalling

“It does not make sense to increase fares for a service which is appalling. They did not bother to show us details of their business plan. There needs to be a review of all this. It is an insult that a report could be tabled without (detailed) information,” said Macpherson.

Deputy mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala, who was chairing the meeting, said the bus operator should be present at the next meeting to shed light on the running of the municipal bus service. “Fares must increase to keep buses running while other challenges are being sorted out.

“We cannot put the operation on hold. But they must come to do a presentation and answer questions instead of sending Moller. Bus drivers are now being transported by taxi drivers,” Shabalala said.

Zwakele Mncwango, the DA caucus leader, said the figures did not make sense and this privatisation of public transport had never worked.

“Someone is milking money at the expense of the ratepayers. Tansnat could not pay drivers; they owed Sars a lot of money, forcing the city to bail them out by paying R8.1 million.

“In terms of revenues, decisions must be based on the facts that one has. But they have failed to show us profit,” said Mncwango.

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