For years, IBL’s subsidy has increased marginally and has not included any expansion despite our operational space. Things got even worse this year when the company was notified in April 2022 that the subsidy allocation had been reduced. The reduction in subsidies, the timing of the subsidy reduction, poor service delivery, and dilapidated road infrastructure all have a direct impact on IBL’s ability to carry out its services.
Following extensive damage to our normal IBL buses operating in the Thaba ‘Nchu trust, our company initiated its own road maintenance programme, which is unprecedented. This programme covered 250kms of the Thaba ‘Nchu rural areas, Botshabelo, Bloemfontein and Soutpan areas. To provide an effective and sustainable transportation solution in Thaba ‘Nchu trust areas, we revised our bus routes. We also introduced 4×4 vehicles, which improved our ability to navigate the damaged roads.
Although significant capital investment has been made to repair damaged roads, the extent of neglect on these roads far exceeds IBL’s capabilities. IBL is suffering extensive damages on buses operating in these areas and the situation is set to worsen if government does not intervene, leaving these communities destitute.
The current operational environment is difficult for both operators and passengers, but in order to continue providing the service that IBL provides, we are forced to increase bus fares. IBL Management received an approval to implement fares from 01 May 2022, but the implementation has been delayed until 01 August 2022.