oa Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management - Problems with the implementation of bus transport contracting in South Africa



South Africa has had a policy of competitive tendering for the provision of public transport services (subsidised commuter bus services) since the mid-1980s. Although this policy approach was conceptualised by the previous government, prior to the transfer of political power in 1994, it was reaffirmed in a 1996 White Paper on National Transport Policy. Despite the nearly 25 years that have passed since the intention to tender services, only about 32% of the subsidy budget is currently spent on some form of contracting. The majority of services are still operated on authorisations (interim contracts) which formalised services that operators were operating pre-1994. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the reasons why public transport contracting policy progress has been so slow in South Africa. The paper relies on an extensive study that was conducted regarding policy implementation obstacles in general, as well as a questionnaire survey among the subsidised commuter bus operators to solicit their views on the reasons for the delay in the implementation of the contracting system in the country. The findings of the survey indicate that the major issues hindering the implementation of the contracting system are to be found in a lack of funding, lack of capacity to implement policy and major operational issues in the permit offices.


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