Thousands of Putco commuters forced to find alternative transport due to subsidy

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At least 230 000 commuters in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo have been forced to find alternative transport after Putco suspended its services on Thursday morning.

It cited the diesel shortage caused by the government’s failure to pay the company’s subsidy as one of the reasons for the suspension of services.

Payment on Monday

But the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department says it will only start paying its service providers on Monday next week.

Spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Roads Lesiba Mpya says, “I confirm that payment from the national government from processed yesterday, and will only reflect in our books on Monday, so the money that is being owed to operators will be dispersed on Monday the 8th.”

Putco spokesperson Lindokuhle Xulu says they would have preferred the payment to have been made earlier to avoid inconveniencing commuters.

“Putco buses where we operate are not able to provide services. At the same time, we do have some of the companies that operate under us and some of them operate in the Vaal and other areas, are not able to operate as well. This is because we are using the same suppliers, so that is the kind of reality that many commuters will be facing. And I say the numbers are around 230 000 people that will be stranded.”

VIDEO: Putco suspends operations:


Putco says it is not able to buy diesel for its buses because it has not received its March subsidy from the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department.

Xulu says they hope a solution will be found urgently.

“As a company, we are sympathetic to passengers. We understand that 230 000 people will be stranded without transport today. So, we are hoping that our engagement with government will at least lead to a solution. We did see the head of the department yesterday and received a statement saying that they have already processed that money and it will reflect in Putco’s account on Monday but we are hoping that it will be sooner.”