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No Autopax buses spotted in Mamelodi

Passengers have been left stranded as the Autopax buses failed to show up in Mamelodi.

FILE: Passengers have been left stranded as the Autopax buses fail to show up in Mamelodi. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - With the Gauteng Transport Department and the Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) at loggerheads over the cancellation of eight contracts, the effects of the termination on commuters are yet to be assessed.

As of this morning, Putco no longer services selected routes in the Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng municipalities.

The eastern Pretoria township of Mamelodi is one of the affected areas with multiple routes no longer being serviced by the bus operator.

While the Gauteng Transport Department has appointed Prasa subsidiary Autopax to service the routes, no Autopax buses have been spotted in the township as yet.

Several Putco buses are driving through the township this morning serving other routes that haven't been affected.

There have been a few long queues for public transport many of them passengers waiting for minibus taxis.

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi has assured commuters that Autopax will have enough capacity to fully service all affected routes.

At the same time, Gauteng transport officials say commuters don't need to make alternative travel arrangements this morning as the cancellation of the Putco bus services is not expected to have a significant effect.

Vadi has announced the commencement of an R18 million agreement between the department and Prasa to take over the routes.

The Transport Department says Putco's decision to pull out of eight multi-year contracts with government is expected to cause minimal delays.

Autopax CEO Nathi Kgena says commuters can stick to their usual travel timetable and fares.

"It's going to be week or so we would have understood what is necessary for us to run the buses professionally and smoothly."

Talks are ongoing to secure long-term contracts to cover the routes.

LISTEN: Putco: Cancelled routes not profitable

Meanwhile, Putco has expressed disappointment at having to terminate its services to parts of Gauteng.

Putco says it has had to terminate eight of its contracts with provincial government due to huge financial losses.

Managing director Franco Pisapia said, "We are extremely disappointed; mostly for our commuters because we've been offering services to them in these areas for more than 20 years."

Vadi has warned commuters to expect minor delays as new bus operator Autopax takes over.

"Its' quite possible that on the first or second day of operations there might be one or two hitches here and there. It is not intentional, and if there are such, we are asking our commuters to be tolerant."

Commuters left stranded in #Mamelodi over bus row #Autopax #Putco #enca

Seems to be a problem with #Autopax buses in #Mamelodi no bus has gone out from depot.Taxi drivers disputing that

Autopax will replace Putco but am not sure on the logistics of it. I hope it's fair and roadworthy https://t.co/qESeRBFfcm

@RediTlhabi @gpdrt must explain where Autopax fleet has been, how it was generating revenue & why the buses weren't deployed earlier. #Putco

Hoping that Autopax will cover all affected areas that Putco was servicing. Otherwise ke mathata fela...

@gpdrt @MovingGauteng does Autopax have a fleet of a similar size to PUTCO of approx 1500 buses?