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Operators were notified about delays
Gautrans has said that the operators were "duly" informed that the national department earlier made a commitment to relay all owing funds.

Commuter bus operators, under contract to the Gauteng transport department (Gautrans), were notified about delays in their subsidy payments, the department said on Tuesday.

"...the operators were duly informed that the national department had earlier made a commitment to relay all owing funds by April 2008."

This followed a statement by the SA Bus Operators Association (SABOA) that the department owed R300-million in outstanding subsidy payments and that the situation was "becoming desperate".

SABOA said that in January, Gautrans had informed the operators their subsidy payments for February and March would be delayed until mid-April, due to a lack of funds at the National Department of Transport which had to transfer such funds to the province.

"This was reluctantly accepted by the operators who had to make alternative plans, at their own expense, to finance their capital and operational costs."

In its response, Gautrans said the funds had been received from the Gauteng province and the payments were being processed. Details of a circular from the national department were also relayed to the operators.

In light of the association saying it was concerned that delays could also affect other commuter services and inconvenience the public, the department said all steps would be taken to ensure the public continued to enjoy access to the commuter subsidy in the interests of affordable public transport. - Sapa

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