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It seems that a large segment of the bus hire market in South Africa is starting to realise that the best way of going about hiring buses or coaches, is to make use of a Charter Management Company (CMC) that operates coaches and buses, but not necessarily owns a fleet of vehicles.

The benefits of making use of such a coach operator or Charter Management Company (CMC) are actually very obvious:

  • More competitive rates
    The CMC channels large volumes of work from different clients to only a couple of selected suppliers - fleet owners - thereby obtaining much better rates from these suppliers through this process of collective bargaining ; as opposed to the rates each of these clients would have been able to negotiate individually.
  • Better service delivery
    The CMC, who is in fact the operator of the coaches, builds and establishes its business on the basis of service delivery and not on the basis of mere ownership of a fleet of vehicles.
    The CMC has a business because it delivers a service - on top of providing the vehicle to its client at a better rate.
  • Safety aspects
    The CMC ensures that the vehicles of the fleet owner it has contracted,comply to the required safety regulations with regard to licencing, relevant permits etc. When a CMC enters into an agreement with a supplier / owner of vehicles, the contract obligates the contractor (fleet owner) to supply fleet lists with all relevant documentation such as permits and road worthy certificates.
    A CMC that takes ownership of its operations will demand copies of the public driving permits of the drivers of the vehicles / buses, and only allocate drivers with the necessary driving experience and appropriate interpersonal skills to handle groups of tourists / passengers according to the group's specific profile.

One can argue that a fleet owner should be rendering an outstanding service regardless, not to mention the safety aspects which should never be an issue - why the need for a Charter Management Company to ensure all of that?

It is mainly a budget issue - coach owners are struggling at the moment just to make the instalments on their vehicles every month; therefore managers or supervisors that normally have these responsibilities are either not present in the company, or those that are contracted, simply do not have the required training, skills or even motivation because of the "budget salary" they earn.

In conclusion, it is currently a much better bet for the bus hire market in our country to make use of a Charter Management Company like LCS, than to approach a fleet owner directly - not only do they get better rates through the collective bargaining principle, they also get a comprehensive service as a complete product including the vehicle, and above all, peace of mind that their expectations will be met with no hidden surprises.

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