Bus price hike hits today

THOUSANDS of Nelson Mandela Bay public transport commuters, already hit with a slew of price increases this year, including electricity, will also be paying more for their bus fares from today.

The Algoa Bus company, which has managed to avoid implementing any increases since February last year, will today raise its fares by 70c across all routes. At least 79000 commuters use the buses every day.

The increase comes on the heels of the recent fleet upgrade that reduced the average age of the buses from double figures in 2006 to seven years today.

Algoa Bus chief executive Sicelo Duze said the new fleet was introduced over the last two years.

“It was about time the fleet had a facelift because the previous fleet was old, the technology was outdated, they were heavy on fuel and also very costly to maintain. But our main reason for the new fleet is to offer our customers a better service,” Duze said.

“We decided to increase the fares as expenses for our buses have gone up, drivers are receiving a 9% wage increase, and the rand/dollar exchange rate has to be taken into consideration as all mechanical parts for repair work have to be shipped in.”

Algoa Bus has also proven to be tech savvy.

It launched a journey planner app that gives destinations and estimates the duration of journeys to help commuters plan their trips.

The Algoa Bus company started operating in 1991. By 1993, it was facing an uphill battle to maintain the 243 bus fleet it had acquired.

The fleet has almost doubled and now stands at 412 buses.

- Amir Chetty