The People And Customer Effects Of Bus Reforms In South Africa
Bus reforms in South Africa have had a dramatic impact on people (employees) andcustomers (passengers), especially during the last five to ten years. These so-called softissues are sometimes overlooked in favour of the policy and structural issues. The mainfocus of this paper is on the people and customer effects of the bus reforms and not on theoperational effects. These effects also had an impact on travel patterns, service levels, etcand although customers were on the receiving end of such changes, most of these issues falloutside the scope of this paper. An attempt is made to critically evaluate these effects and topropose solutions. The following are some of the more important effects that have becomenoticeable throughout the commuter bus industry:· Pre- and post tender pressures resulted in a substantial rationalisation of servicesand organisations.· The demarcation of tenders resulted in smaller operating entities, which in turn havea dramatic impact on people and management practices.· Large numbers of people were retrenched. Managing a downsized operation hasbecome the key challenge.· Manpower costs have become a source of competitive advantage to secure tenderswith negative effects on the continued employment of high calibre staff.· Organised labour fiercely resists reforms that could lead to further job losses andpractices that weaken the position of employees.· Former training and development functions were severely rationalised or discontinuedas a result of cost pressures.· Accelerated Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has become a national policyfocus. The industry made considerable progress on the BEE agenda.· The penalty system of tendered contracts redefined customer focus.· Fewer people employed in the bus industry and more demanding customers havebecome the key challenges.Proposed solutions include closer cooperation with organised labour, replacement of acareer orientation with an entrepreneurial orientation, accelerated training and development,reassessment of the impact of lower remuneration, full implementation of the tender system,multi skilling, more focused customer care training and further research to substantiate thepeople and customer effects of bus reforms.
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Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies. Faculty of Economics and Business. The University of Sydney
|Type of publication:||Article|
|Type of publication (narrower categories):||Congress Report|
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