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Autopax to service Putco's routes from tomorrow

MEC Ismail Vadi confirmed that Autopax will service affected routes at the same times and prices.

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi (left). Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A three-month contact has been signed with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)'s bus operator to cover the eight contracts cancelled by Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco).

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi said as of Wednesday, Autopax will service affected routes at the same timetable and at the same price.

The transport department and Putco are expected to head to court today over the issue of employee contracts.

The department said Putco should take over the contracts of all affected employees or organise retrenchment packages.

Putco decided to cancel its Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and Tshwane contracts because the subsidised funding method is unsustainable.

Today is the final day that Putco will operate in these areas.

Putco managing director Franco Pisapia said, "It's not by choice because they have become totally unsustainable. The discussions that have been going on for the last five years with the department of transport are on the funding problem."

Vadi says his department was in talks with several bus companies in the province to discuss how routes are shared in the wake of Putco's decision.

But he said taking into consideration that more bus services were entering the market, Putco should have readjusted its financial management.

He said the talks would address how to maintain profitability for the companies.

"There are new offers that are emerging. So we're quite open to the idea of rationalising some of the routes so that the businesses are on a better financial footing."