Pretoria - Commuters in the city will be transported with the dignity they deserve and in style in new buses unveiled at the C de Wet Bus Depot in Pretoria West on Wednesday.
Following a protracted procurement process, the city has received the first 44 of a new fleet of 120 buses for the Tshwane Bus Services.
The remaining buses would be delivered by December, said George Matjila, member of the mayoral committee for transport.
Of the 120 buses, 12 are compliant with the Department of Transport policy on easy access for the handicapped and disabled. Last month, the city council approved the disposal of 266 buses through a competitive and open bidding process.
The buses had been declared too old to use as public transport and considered a hazard to passengers and other road users.
The municipal bus service is used by almost 500 000 commuters every month, mostly pupils, students, workers and senior citizens.
Matjila said the buses were procured on a three-year full maintenance lease by Man Truck and Bus.
At the expiry of the term, ownership of the buses would be transferred to the City of Tshwane at no additional cost.
“The buses will be on full repairs and maintenance programme for the three years, and our technical personnel will also be trained by Man,” Matjila said.
“In order to ensure that we protect the buses and improve service efficiency, we will have an on-board tracking device installed.
“Another feature which will ensure that we have a smooth service will be the installation of the automated fare collection system to ensure that drivers focus on their main function and no longer handle money.”
The arrival of the new buses formed part of the turn-around strategy for the bus service which was adopted in 2012.
At the time, dissatisfied staff, ageing fleet, unreliability and poor performance in key performance areas were threatening to ground the bus service.
Part of the strategy will see the city expanding the reach into areas that had not had the municipal bus service before.
For this, 11 new routes had been proposed, Matjila said.
“We must acknowledge in the same vein our shortcomings in running the service, such as the interruptions in the provision of fuel early this month and strikes by drivers, which have had an adverse effect on the service.
“However, we continuously manage to ensure that our service is always back on track.”