PUTCO will deploy 200 new generation buses into its fleet in the Soweto, Tshwane and Mpumalanga as well as Soshanguve Routes. The buses will have new liveries for each contract. In the recent past we have been observing a wide range of negative media reports and statements from various officials and commuter forums. These reports and statements are a direct unintended consequence of the underfunding of Public Transport Services by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport since 2011, which has affected service delivery. The said underfunding has negatively impacted on the bus replacement programme of PUTCO.
Prior to the funding problem, PUTCO introduced 900 new buses into its fleet between 2006 and 2011, by far the biggest fleet renewal programme of all Public Transport Operators in South Africa. An important aspect of the Public Transport sector is one whereby the subsidy per passenger for the Conventional Bus Industry is far lower than that of the Gautrain and BRT Services, which also negatively affects service delivery.
The underfunding problem has since been resolved in September 2016 between PUTCO and Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport which will result in an improvement in scheduled service to commuters as soon as possible.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and transport and PUTCO have committed to enter into future contracts in terms of the National Land Transport Act with the view to improve service delivery, by way of new bus specification, operational efficiencies, electronic ticket integration, as well as achieving the objectives of government on transformation including BBBEEE, whereby PUTCO is already well compliant in many aspects of the codes of good practice on BBBEE as it is 42.6% black owned including 17% Black Women ownership.
The management of PUTCO would like to apologise for the erratic service level of late, which has been very difficult to maintain due to the underfunding, but are continually committed to improve and offer a quality service to all commuters and to continue to work within the communities in which we operate on CSI programmes that we have been doing through the PUTCO Foundation for over 30 years, assisting very many meaningful projects including education, housing, sport and community upliftment programmes.