Paper presented at the 20th Annual South African Transport Conference 16 - 20 July 2001 "Meeting the transport challenges in Southern Africa", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. ABSTRACT: This paper is based on the findings of a research project aimed at addressing the problems preventing public transport operators from benefiting from the new tender system.
Due to a lack of competition and monitoring of service quality, the public transport industry was in a state of decline. To address these inadequacies, the National Department of Transport introduced a
public tender system, instituting a number of service quality improvements. Since the majority of public transport operators have no knowledge in operating a subsidised service, there was a need to assess their competence in operations and costing techniques required by the tender.
A questionnaire was devised to get information on legal and financial issues, suitability of their vehicle fleet for the tender, operational experience, employee structure, general information and feedback on their main problems with the tender. Experiences with public transport tender systems on a national and international scale were used to inform the study.
An interesting result was that more than 10% of the operators surveyed were not even aware that a public tender would be held in the next few months. It was found that all operators using good vehicle scheduling and costing techniques had more than 20 years of transport experience. 58% of the total taxi fleet and 36% of the total bus fleet surveyed were unsuitable to be used in the tender due to the age and condition of their vehicles.
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