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The Minibus Taxi and Bus Services Industry
Statistics indicate that between 70% and 80 % of South Africa’s population is totally dependent on public transport for its mobility needs and the most popular choice, the minibus taxi, has an annual turnover of between R60bn and R90bn. Taxi association SANTACO estimates that within this informal, unregulated sector there are 150,000 minibus taxi owners, 300,000 drivers, 100,000 rank marshals, 100,000 car washers and 150,000 informal traders at taxi ranks. In the bus services industry 19,000 buses provide 912 million passenger trips per annum while travelling an estimated 1.4 billion kilometres. This section of the industry provides direct employment to about 34,200 people throughout the country.
A Changing Sector
By 2050 eight out of ten people in South Africa will live in an urban area and in order to meet the mobility demands of this rapidly increasing urban population, the Minister of Transport emphasises the need to promote and implement integrated public transport systems especially through road-based transport services. The Department of Transport’s Public Transport Turnaround Plan promotes the incorporation of SMMEs into the formal public transport system and aims to bring together the currently competing public transport modes to form an integrated sustainable system that will provide the commuter with a seamless travel experience. Advances in technology and ‘Big Data’ in particular are expected to positively impact the sector and improve transport operations, easing the transit flows for millions of daily commuters. In the minibus taxi sub-sector SANTACO will introduce a new cashless smart card payment system known as FairPay to the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Mabopane routes in 2017. This initiative forms part of SANTACO’s TR3 2020 Strategy which aims to redefine, restructure and reposition the taxi industry through the implementation of initiatives to create a professional, integrated and service-orientated public transport system.
The detailed report on the Minibus Taxi and Bus Services Industry discusses current conditions, new developments, challenges faced and factors influencing the success of both sectors. The report profiles 41 companies in the bus and coach sector, including PUTCO (Pty) Ltd which has a fleet of 1,800 buses, and Golden Arrow Bus Services (Pty) Ltd, which is the official Vehicle Operating Company for the City of Cape Town’s MyCiTi BRT service.