Chartered transport operators based in South Africa have formed the Private Charter Coach Association of South Africa (PCCA) to lobby support from government as they have been left without income due to travel restrictions.
“Much of the chartered transport industry is entirely reliant on tourism, be it leisure travel or meetings and incentives. Due to travel restrictions, operators have been left with no income and high expenses to cover,” said md of Premier Coaches and Tours, Fanie van Zyl.
The point of the PCCA was to provide smaller businesses with a voice during this time of hardship, said PCCA chairperson, Fiona Brooke-Leggatt.
The newly formed group has submitted legal documentation – to both the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, and the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane – detailing their need for support.
Referring to government’s concessions for public transport and minibus taxis, attorneys acting on behalf of the PCCA argue that the tourism transport operators should be treated no differently to other transport activities. ”Our clients never received subsidies, contrary to other modes of bus transport,” reads the legal document.
Fiona told Travel News’s sister publication, Tourism Update, that the cost of running a chartered transport business was high. Expenses include licensing fees, repayments on vehicles, insurance and paying employees.
She added that in financially difficult times many companies cancelled insurance payments first. “So the insurance companies are already losing thousands,” she said, indicating that the cost of insurance for her fleet of vehicles was well over R100 000 a month.
“For every vehicle in your fleet you’ll have at least one coach driver, which means the industry is facing mass unemployment should no support be offered,” said Fiona. She said while many operators had been making use of TERS, those payments would be stopping and operators would not be able to keep on all their staff.
She said that, although the PCCA represented the smaller operators, larger chartered transport operators, such as Mega Coach, Hylton Ross and Springbok Atlas, were also impacted, although to a lesser extent.
“This is a reliable form of transport. South Africa is a vast country and tourists cannot rely on public transport here. If this industry goes under it will cause a massive snowball effect,” said Fiona. She emphasised that the private chartered transport industry was worth millions and without it, tourism and MICE sectors would be particularly disadvantaged.