Commuters appeased

2017-08-30 06:00

Passengers from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu using Interstate Bus Lines (IBL) to travel to their workplace in ­Bloemfontein breathed a sigh of relief after the bus company cut the tariff hike by 2,5%.

George Mokhothu, IBL’s chief executive officer, confirmed in a statement that new tariffs would take effect on Friday (01/09).

Commuters demanded the 9% tariff hike (introduced on 1 July) be revised, as well as the expiry dates of weekly tickets, creating immense pressure fuelled with violent protest.

The protest on 16 August left the bus company counting costs estimated at R350 000 after angry protesters had reportedly broke the windows of 15 busses at IBL’s station at Bloemfontein’s Central Park complex.

Some angry commuters went on a rampage to make their demands to have tariffs revised, heard.

The 2,5% reduction followed a once-off 7% decrease last week, which Mokhothu stated had been to repay passengers for inconvenience due to the chaotic protest.

The reduction of the tariff hike to 6,5% includes weekly tickets to be introduced on Friday.

A decision in favour of passengers followed a series of meetings between IBL and the Mangaung Forum, the body representing the passengers.

Mokhothu said the meetings had been facilitated by the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Sam Mashinini.

To resolve grievances over the expiry dates of weekly tickets, Mokhothu stated that, as from Friday, the following tags would be introduced: tags for three days, four days and eight days per week so that passengers in these categories can finish their trips in time.

Tags for weekly trips would be valid for the number of days paid for.

Regarding tags for 20 trips, Mokhothu said only trips paid for would be loaded and would be valid for 30 days from purchase. He said monthly tags for 44 trips would be valid for 40 days (only 44 trips paid for will be loaded) and 52 trips will be valid for 44 days (only 52 trips paid for will be loaded).

Mokhothu said terms and conditions would be applicable over three months from 1 September until end of November, as per resolutions the parties took emanating from a series of meetings that ended on Friday (25/08).

He explained the main reason for the three-month period:

“The department will engage an independent service provider to investigate a possible lasting solution for the expiry of tags and will in three months report back to the MEC.

“In the three months effective from the date of appointment, the service provider will also assess the financial impact on IBL. If there are losses, there will be another tariff increase and if there are gains, IBL will reduce its tariffs,” Mokhothu stated.

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