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With so many bus hire companies to choose from these days - how does one know whether you have hired a bus from a reliable company - especially if you have limited experience in this regard?

To answer this question we first have to look at the current situation in the Bus Charter Industry in South Africa:
There are literally hundreds of bus hire companies in the RSA who call themselves Bus or Coach Hire Companies or Operators. It's not that difficult to become an owner of a bus - it does not even cost that much - a second hand luxury tour bus or coach can be picked up for as little as R250 000, which is less than a new minibus taxi. Furthermore to obtain a permit or operating license is also fairly easy- if the bus is not sold with an operating license/ permit, one can either buy an operating license from an existing operator who has a surplus of permits or go through the normal application process with the Road Transportation Board of the relevant province.

The fact is that any Tom Dick and Harry can be a Bus Hire Company operating "legally"; therefore the market in the bus industry is exposed to all sorts of irregular practices such as:

  • Buses not being mechanically maintained according to acceptable standards
  • Buses with substandard parts
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Drivers without any proper training
  • Medically unfit drivers
  • Underpaid and overworked drivers
  • Inadequate liability insurance cover
  • Inadequate safety procedures, policies & inspections
  • Inadequate operational procedures & policies
  • Services being delivered outside authority of operating licenses / permits

With regard to the last point, it is even common to find reliable or reputable bus companies operating some of their buses outside the authority allowed by their permits; thereby operating illegally without anyone being aware of it - not even the average traffic officer will detect any discrepancy with the operating license. Although one would imagine this not to be a major crime, the fact is that in an event of an accident where passengers are seriously injured, the passenger liability insurance cover of the operator will not be of any value. Since any claim can be rejected by the insurer due to the vehicle being operated illegally at the specific time of the accident, it will result in dire consequences in terms of the financial remuneration and covering of long term medical costs of the injured.

Logistic Consulting Services (LCS) has in their midst the experience and expertise of charter management to ensure that clients hiring buses and coaches from them, have the peace of mind knowing that everything has been done to avoid any of the above irregularities when a service is delivered.

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