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Metrobus gets R60 Million for new buses

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Metrobus gets R60 Million for new buses

City of Johannesburg logo

5th July 2022

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.

I am pleased to announce that the City’s bus company Metrobus has been allocated R60 million to purchase new buses in the coming financial year (2023/24).

As political head of the City’s Transport department, I could no longer ignore the pressing need to purchase new buses as part of a long-term strategy to renew the entity’s fleet. 

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Metrobus is integral to fulfilling the City’s constitutional mandate of providing safe, reliable and affordable public transportation but the company has had to fulfil this mandate under very difficult conditions.

This includes operating buses that are beyond their useful lifespan. 

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It is internationally accepted that a bus will have a useful lifespan of 12 years but due to historic financial challenges, Metrobus finds itself with a significant number of its buses operating that are 15 years and 21 years old.

The planning process regarding procurement of the new buses will begin in this financial year, 2022/2023. The lead-time between the placement of an order and the delivery of new buses by manufacturers might be between six to ten months. 

While the R60 million allocation will enable Metrobus to begin the process of renewing its fleet, this is far from the R450 million the entity had initially requested. 

I will be working with the Executive Management of Metrobus and the Board, to look for long-term sustainable solutions towards bridging the gap between the funds that were requested and those allocated, such as seeking alternative funding mechanisms and revenue generating initiatives that will form part of the Metrobus’ turnaround strategy.

These include the acquisition of an Automated Fare Collection (AFC) system, that will enable Metrobus to remove cash from its buses in order to fully account for its revenue. About R99 million has been allocated for this system in the 2023/24 financial year followed by a further R100 million in the year after.

Metrobus’ ability to protect the revenue it collects will allow it sufficient capacity to begin working towards purchasing buses independent of the City.

But due to current budgetary constraints affecting every government sphere, department and entity, I recognise that the changes I have been entrusted to oversee at Metrobus will have to be incremental but I am confident that we will make progress in improving Johannesburg residents’ experience of Metrobus’ services. This is paramount.

In fact, we are already making significant headway.

Metrobus has just concluded a successful three-year Bus Refurbishment Programme. By the end of June 2022, the entity had completely refurbished 105 buses against a target of 100 buses. 

Not only did we exceed our target for the number of buses refurbished, Metrobus also spent R49.4 million against a total project budget allocation of R49.8 million - reflecting expenditure to date of just over 99%.

Eighty six of the 15-year old Mercedes-Benz 1725/59 buses were refurbished and are 100% complete while 19 of the 7-year old Mercedes-Benz Euro 3 buses were refurbished and are 100% complete. The refurbishment of the Mercedes Benz 1725 buses has seen the majority of buses returning to operation for service delivery of which six were non-runners.

This is a progressive step towards achieving industry standards aimed at bus fleet maintenance and renewal. 

During the 2021/22 financial year, a total of 35 buses were refurbished, translating to R19.7 million spent against a budget of R20 million. These buses are currently being used to operate most of the Metrobus’ trips. 

A further R22 million has been allocated in this new financial year, to refurbish additional buses.

 

Issued by Cllr Funzela Ngobeni, MMC: Transport, City of Johannesburg

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