Putco buses parked at the Putco depot near New Canada. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Nelspruit - Commuters in Mpumalanga's Nkangala region will protest on Tuesday against bus operator Putco's alleged poor service, the transport department said.

“Minister (of Transport Dipuo) Peters and Putco senior management would be available to receive the community at the KwaMhlanga government precincts,” transport department spokesman Jomo Khasu said on Monday.

Residents claim the Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) is arrogant and insensitive to their complaints.

Peters met Putco management and an Mpumalanga Transport Forum delegation on Saturday.

“(The meeting) ended in a truce to avert a planned rolling mass action that would have started against Putco in the province on Tuesday,” said Khasu.

The mass action would have included the company's buses being prevented from entering the area and a boycott of the buses.

According to a memorandum from the Young Communist League, handed to Putco last week, commuters were concerned about the roadworthiness of the company's buses, which had been involved in numerous fatal accidents on the R573 road between Pretoria and Moloto.

Commuters alleged drivers were reckless and buses overloaded. They wanted to address price hikes and Putco's monopoly of routes.

At Saturday's meeting it was agreed that buses would be inspected at depots before departure and electronic monitoring considered as a long-term solution.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited would be asked to improve the Moloto road and unroadworthy buses would be taken off the roads.

It was further agreed that Putco's contract, ending in 2015, would be reviewed to allow small to medium operators an opportunity to enter the market.

It was agreed that there would be no violence and intimidation during Tuesday's protest.