As you know, Interstate Bus Lines (IBL), have been providing scheduled transportation to our valuable commuters in Bloemfontein, Thaba’Nchu and Botshabelo for over 46 years.
When looking at the impact of rising diesel prices, Interstate Bus Lines’ operations suffer greatly.
The diesel prices increased by 30% during the first five months of 2022. The fuel increase in June resulted in a 43% increase in fuel expense, as diesel currently accounts for 25% of our expenses. That 25% is now going to increase by 43%.
We need to find a solution to balance the 43% increase in fuel. Our buses consume 500,000 litres of fuel per month, and this latest fuel increase resulted in us spending R4 million more than our monthly budget on fuel.
When we look at our annual price increases, these are typically 6%. To help our valued commuters, we have implemented no increase from July 2020 to January 2021.
We understand that every rand counts for our passengers, and with no increase during this time, our passengers have saved 3% of the usual 6% increase for the six months.
With all the challenges that our beautiful country has experienced during the past two years, and due to the current petrol and diesel crisis, we are forced to impose a 4.5% tariff increase in August 2022.
We have desperately tried to find alternative routes to save costs, which included cutting the bus numbers compared to previous years (prior-Covid), two retrenchment processes that took place between 2020 and 2021, restructuring and reducing positions to decrease costs.
The unfortunate reality is that several IBL road maintenance projects in the Thaba’Nchu Trusts, Botshabelo, and Mangaung areas raise operating costs.
The Mangaung Municipality’s un-maintained roads are damaging the buses and making it impossible for IBL to transport our commuters to their destinations.
As a result, the company began repairing the roads they use. IBL also incurs spares costs as a result of vehicles damaged by un-maintained roads in their operational areas.
In keeping with bus industry trends, most bus operators have implemented additional passenger tariffs of more than 5%. Some bus companies were forced to implement a 7% increase in December 2021, followed by an 8% increase in March 2022.
We will continue to do our best to look after our commuters and will look into other options in order to continue providing our services to you.