CAPE TOWN - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has reacted with dismay at the announcement that Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs) will be hiking fares from next week, saying it will impact the poorest of the poor.
The bus service announced on Wednesday that it would implement an interim fare increase of 8% across the board as of March 14, adding that further increases may become necessary as the year progresses.
Gabs General Manager Derick Meyer said the conditions of the company’s interim operating contract with the Western Cape government made provision for fare adjustments in order to mitigate the effects of operational cost increases.
“Considering the current global unrest and the accompanying economic effects, it is clear that the South African economy is going to continue to find itself in a very difficult position. The diesel price has increased by 81% in the last 18 months, and current projections predict that fuel prices will continue to soar. This has knock-on effects across our supply chain.
“Where possible, Golden Arrow only implements one increase per year. However, we now find ourselves in the very difficult position of having to find the balance between what is affordable for our passengers and what is needed to compensate for unrelenting cost increases across our operations,” Meyer said.
Commuters are advised to purchase a GABS Gold Card and load weekly or monthly products instead of paying cash.
Cosatu provincial secretary Malvern de Bruyn said they were deeply disappointed by the announcement.
“We are of the opinion that's GABS must consult stakeholders before increasing their fares because it's basically the poorest of the poor and the working class that are being hit the hardest.
“We will be calling (for) an urgent meeting with them because they must also tell us which conditions they are referring to with regards to the interim operating contract with the Provincial government,” he said.