Covid-19 compliance exacting huge costs on contracted bus sector

31st July 2020 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

It costs about R1.3-million a day, or R34-million a month, for the contracted public transport bus sector to adhere to the hygiene and safety protocols implemented under the Covid-19 pandemic, says South African Bus Operators Association (Saboa) executive manager Bazil Govender.

The sector includes the Putco and Golden Arrow bus services, for example.

Govender says it costs R175 a day, or R4 546 a month, to ensure that a single bus is “ready and compliant”.

The contracted bus service consists of 7 500 buses.

For the 12 000-strong scholar transport fleet, the cost can run up to R2-million a day, or R55-million a month, to ensure full compliance, should the entire fleet be deployed.

“Personal protection equipment procurement and distribution [are] a huge challenge, and a costly one,” says Govender.

“Then we look at compliance enforcement and responsibility from a public point of view, where we require independent teams to monitor public compliance.

“And, to supplement this, there has to be a platform or tool for the screening and recording of commuters.”

Govender says Saboa has requested financial assistance from government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He says Saboa is involved within the National Economic Development and Labour Council, in collaboration with Business for South Africa, in finding “equitable relief measures for the industry, whilst ensuring safe transport”.

No financial aid package has, however, yet been approved.

Govender says Saboa would like to reassure its commuters and stakeholders of its commitment to adhere to government’s Covid-19-related regulations and directives.