Interstate Bus Lines, established 1975
Interstate Bus Lines was founded on 28 April 1975 by Mr Abel Erasmus and Mr Fred Kinnear. As employees of the Bantu Investment Corporation (BIC), it was the duty of these two gentlemen to investigate the feasibility of bus services in the mid-seventies. Economic conditions were bad and the project was officially shelved, but not for Mr Erasmus and Mr Kinnear. They decided to carry on with the project. The next two years were very tough due to the rigorously applied permit system.
The railways and the BIC opposed them every time they applied for a Thaba ‘Nchu / Bloemfontein permit. In 1975 they managed to get a foot in the door with a partner, the late Dr James Moraka, a leader in the ANC. The three partners took over a small bus company, previously owned by the late Jacob Mokgethi. This small bus company operated four buses in the hinterland of Thaba ‘Nchu on routes allocated to it. In 1976 Mr Erasmus and Mr Kinnear finally managed to obtain permission to operate the route they wanted.
The company was first known as Thaba ‘Nchu Transport. Later it was known as Jakaranda (after the Pretoria-based printers of the bus tickets whose name appeared on the back of the tickets). The name, Interstate, was later chosen because services expanded and the company began to operate between provinces.
Bus services, offering more comfort than trains, were needed everywhere and as a result the company grew rapidly. From its inception in 1975, Interstate has grown into a transport giant with as many as 600 buses countrywide at one stage. Interstate provided people with an alternative to rigidly-scheduled rail transport. Towards the end of the eighties, when the taxi revolution gained momentum, the two entrepreneurs decided to split their operations. Kinnear took on a new challenge by partnering up with the late Joseph Matsebula in Nelspruit. They laid the foundations for the Buscor Group, serving the Mpumalanga Province. A company which started humbly with four buses only, is today known as Interstate Bus Lines and Buscor.