R1,5bn new buses for World Cup

THE government has splashed out R1,5billion on 570 new luxury buses that will be used during the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals, it was announced yesterday.

THE government has splashed out R1,5billion on 570 new luxury buses that will be used during the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals, it was announced yesterday.

Of the 570 buses, Mercedes-Benz has won the tender to make a fleet of 460 with MAN getting one for 110 buses. The buses will form part of the Autopax fleet.

Autopax is the road transport arm of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), a state agency in the department of Transport.

Autopax boss Saki Zamxaka said in Centurion yesterday that of the 570 buses, 420 will be presented to Match to be used by Fifa during the World Cup.

Fifty buses will be given to the Local Organising Committee and the remainder will be used by members of the public.

Zamxaka said the new buses will offer an improved service to commuters and international tourists.

"Our passengers will get a more improved level of service in terms of security, comfort and dependability," he said.

Prasa chief executive Lucky Montana said they were excited to contribute to the success of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

"This is an important milestone. We want to thank our government, especially the national department of Transport, for making it possible to get 570 luxury busses.

"It is not a victory only for the 2010 World Cup, but also for the passengers who use the buses in South Africa and other neighbouring countries."

Montana said the buses would form part of the Translux and City to City fleet after the World Cup.

The deal with Mercedes-Benz has helped created more than 300 permanent and 60 temporary jobs for Marcopolo South Africa.

A part of the injection into the bus industry involves comprehensive driver training. An additional 1400 drivers will be recruited and trained in the next six months.

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