The Department of Transport (DoT) had revised its target for new buses to be acquired, or leased, for the 2010 FIFA World Cup downward from the original 1 422 units, to around 1 000 buses.

“Our transport business plan estimates that we need approximately 1 000 buses, of which 570 would be operated by Autopax after the World Cup, subject to approval by the National Treasury,” said Transport Minister Jeff Radebe at a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Autopax operates the Translux and City-to-City services, and has moved from the Transnet stable to now fall under the newly-formed Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Radebe did not want to divulge the value of the tender.

Government first put out a tender for the bus requirements for the 2010 event in May, 2008, which was to be awarded originally at the beginning of October last year. This then moved to January, 2009.

Indications were that funding was a problem for such a large acquisition, which could run into well over one-billion rand.

Radebe noted on Tuesday that the winning bidder(s) would now be announced within the “next few weeks”.

DoT on Tuesday signed two memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

“The two MoUs commit my department to the Local Organising Committee and Match, that indeed we will be able to provide the Intercity buses and the fleet of coaches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said Radebe.

DoT and Prasa had committed 50 sem-luxury buses to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee.

They had also committed 420 semi-luxury and Intercity buses to Match.

Match is the company appointed to provide ticketing, accommodation and event information technology services to FIFA for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In addition, Prasa would provide another 110 buses for general spectator services to facilitate the movement for general and local spectators.

The local bus manufacturing industry had last year expressed its concern that government had to speed up the bus procurement process, in order to ensure most of these buses could be manufactured locally, and not be imported.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Irma Venter
DATED: 31st March 2009