GEORGE NEWS - A George Herald reader wants to know why some of the big buses on the Blanco route often run empty or with only a few passengers on board.
He regularly walks along the Blanco-George route and says he often notices many people on foot. When he enquires, he is told that they cannot afford the bus tickets.
"Why not charge a lower fee to get more passengers on the buses? This will benefit the community and ensure a higher passenger number and income for the bus service. Also, use the small buses more often during off-peak times and on routes where the demand is smaller," he says.
According to James Robb, Go George manager, the bus service is used to the best of its capacity, and for the benefit of the community.
"Our focus is on optimal capacity to suit the community's needs, while also keeping the service affordable and accessible throughout the day. For that very reason, we alternate the bigger buses with minibuses depending on the time of day and passenger demand. We consider a variety of factors and survey data which might not be obvious to someone looking on from the outside."
He says the price of a trip does not come close to the actual cost of running the service, but fares are kept as low as possible through generous government subsidy.
"The fare is linked to the minimum wage of a domestic worker as determined by the Department of Labour. The fare calculation takes into account the capacity of a domestic worker to afford the cost of public transport, based upon national objectives that no more than 17,6% of an individual's monthly income should be spent on transport."
* If a passenger uses a Go George Smart Card, one trip costs R10,50. If more than eight trips are bought, it costs R9,50 per trip. With the minimum wage of R15 per hour for a domestic worker, this is on par with the Labour Department's prescription.
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