Metrobus has recorded major financial losses, but has taken steps to save money. Inspectors have been placed on buses in an attempt to stop cash fare pilferage. Photo: Steve Lawrence

Johannesburg - Metrobus is losing almost R20 million a year due to broken down buses and cash-fare pilferage.

These figures were released in the entity’s quarterly report, from January to March, which show that some 5 000 bus trips were cancelled because of non-operational buses.

DA spokesman on transport councillor Basil Douglas said he was especially shocked to hear about the pilferage that has been going on within the entity and slammed Metrobus for not taking strong action against those responsible.

“Some R42 000 a day was lost due to theft. It is outrageous that criminal charges are not laid against those responsible,” he said.

However, Metrobus spokesman Esther Dreyer said a “blitz” programme has been instituted to increase the visibility of inspectors on buses during peak periods to ensure cash revenue is protected. This has already resulted in cash revenue, per day, rising from R63 000 a day to R105 000.

“We have various other revenue enhancement measures to curb pilferage. In addition, a tender has been awarded to an external inspectorate, which started inspections (Tuesday),” she said.

Metrobus has, in fact, taken disciplinary action against those caught stealing.

“We have pending cases of ticket irregularities and subsequent dismissals, on an ongoing basis,” she said.

Metrobus has a fleet of 450 buses of which 391 are in operation and 59 are waiting to be scrapped.

To improve operations, in March, a further 23 buses were leased.

Metrobus carried out 92 000 trips between January and March this year, carrying four million passengers.

It has already converted two buses to dual fuel. If the whole fleet was converted to dual fuel by 2020, about 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved.

“Following the successful conversion of two buses to dual fuel, the cost saving realised in the cost of diesel per litre, 30 more buses will be converted in the next financial year,” she said.

The report also states that only nine of Metrobus’s key performance indicators out of 25 had been met this past quarter.

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The Star