Tansnat Durban’s battle for money that it claims it is owed by the city could see commuters being stranded and as many as 900 employees axed, with 450 of the service’s buses parked.
Durban - The eThekwini Municipality’s bus service is expected to be fully restored next week after a contractual dispute led to part of the fleet being parked off at the Ntuzuma depot. Durban councillor Martin Meyer recently conducted an oversight visit to the depot where he said he found 100 buses which had not been in operation for a month.

Meyer said on Tuesday that the bus shortage had a negative impact on commuters travelling to KwaMashu, uMhlanga, La Lucia, and Newlands East.

“The bus situation is going from bad to worse with the city not providing clarity on when this will be remedied. With school holidays about to come to an end, it may be to the detriment of scholars who travel far to attend schools, since it is a more convenient and cheaper means of transportation,” he said.

He added that the DA would conduct further oversight visits to depots around the city, in response to bus shortages reported by commuters.

“The transport problem is a serious issue that needs to be resolved speedily for the sake of the people of eThekwini. Residents find themselves in compromising positions, as the ANC-led metro continues to collapse under the leadership of Mayor Zandile Gumede. Working transport infrastructure is crucial for the economy, to be able to create jobs and sustain the interests of investors,” Meyer said.

He said he had written to the city’s fleet unit and to city treasurer Krish Kumar to raise the problem. However, unit head Malcolm Joshua said on Tuesday that, according to its records, the matter was well under control.

“These are buses which had a breakdown or mechanical failure and needed repair, which was delayed because of a contractual dispute with the service provider. We are monitoring (this) on a daily basis,” Joshua said.

Joshua said the buses had not been pulled off the road in one go, but had been parked off over about two to three weeks as mechanical problems arose with each bus.

Safety

“When it comes to public safety we don’t take chances but the bus service has not been impacted that much due to school holidays and because of the buffer fleet,” he said. Joshua said there were 600 buses in the fleet, which had 10 to 12% spare capacity in case of breakdowns. He said the full complement of buses would be back on the road by next week.

Kumar said the dispute that caused the delay had arisen when a contract with an old service provider had been renewed.

“There were a couple of areas (of the contract) which needed clarity and to comply with the supply chain framework and avoid any irregularities, so there was a delay in putting the new contract in place,” Kumar said.

The Mercury