Fares cause chaos

2017-08-23 06:01
George Mokhothu, Interstate Bus Lines (IBL) chief executive officer, cleared the confusion over the price cut in bus fares which  commuters experienced on Monday (21/08).Photo: Express

George Mokhothu, Interstate Bus Lines (IBL) chief executive officer, cleared the confusion over the price cut in bus fares which commuters experienced on Monday (21/08).Photo: Express

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The Interstate Bus Lines (IBL) company has not budged to commuters’ demand to review fares from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.

George Mokhothu, the bus company’s chief executive officer, says fare prices remain unchanged as per tariff increment effected from the beginning of July.

Confusion arose on Monday (21/08) over bus fares following a price cut by 7%.

This gave commuters and the general public an impression that the price cut was permanent.

The price cut followed the commotion caused by commuters who protested on Wednesday (16/08) at IBL’s main pick-up point at Bloemfontein’s Central Park.

Protesters reportedly prevented busses from transporting passengers, demanding that the bus company review the recent tariff increment for the multi-journey coupons and the cash tickets.

Following this protest, passengers represented by a forum had a series of ­meetings with IBL represen-tatives and the Free State Department of Transport to deliberate on the grave concerns commuters raised.

To clear up confusion over the temporary price fare, Mokhothu says: “We agreed upon a 7% once-off discount, valid for the period 21 August to 31 August.

“This is goodwill for the inconvenience caused during the blockage of busses at Central Park on 16 August.

“There are no changes in bus fares and no other agreement yet.”

Mokhothu says the decision on the 7% discount followed lengthy discussions between the parties involved.

He adds that an announcement will be made on possible new tariff increases to be implemented from 1 September.

He says the commuters body on the joint route-management committee raised concern over the tariff increase implemented on 1 July, the expiry dates of coupon trips and the safety of the passengers.

The protest saw damage caused to some busses at Central Park.

Mokhothu says the company is currently talking to law enforcement agencies to see that the law takes its course against perpetrators who exposed loyal customers to danger.

“In total 15 busses had their windows damaged and we estimate the total da-mage to be in the region of R350 000,” he says.

The incident mostly affected commuters from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu who use busses daily.

Mokhothu says the passengers from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu constitute approximately 80% of the total number of passengers per month.

“We operate with ap­proximately 179 busses to and from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, out of the 223 busses, including the spare capacity.”

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