Split Autopax bus company from Prasa, report suggests

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), which owns Autopax, is seen to be using its power to protect the interests of the bus company and the two entities should be separated. 

This is according to a Public Passenger Transport Market Inquiry provisional report initiated by the Competition Commission, based on complaints by industry players.

"It is recommended that Autopax be separated from the Prasa Group and become a separate state entity" it said adding that as a separate entity, Autopax will report directly to government and not Prasa.

The report  released on Wednesday listed a series of allegations that suggested that  Autopax's links with Prasa gave the company an unfair advantage over its competitors and helped entrench its market dominance.

"Between March 2017 and July 2019, the Commission received five complaints from inter-provincial bus operators concerning allegations of, among other things, excessive access fees charged by Prasa for access to loading bays at Park Station."

Prasa is the sole owner and manager of intermodal terminal facilities in the country - including Park Station - and Autopax operates two bus services, Translux and City to City, which services long distance routes linking major cities.

Last week, the Competition Commission said it had referred Autopax to the Competition Tribunal for alleged abuse of dominance. The report also raised concern at the continued financial support that Autopax is getting from Prasa, through state-owned funding, even when it is not economically justifiable to do so.

The provisional findings are open to comments by stakeholders.

Compiled by Sibongile Khumalo

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