PE World Cup Buses on their way from East London

www.MyPE.co.za: The
Eastern Cape celebrated yesterday as some of the final cogs in the 2010
FIFA World Cup™ wheel were put in place when 14 new articulated buses
earmarked for the World Cup transport – and Nelson Mandela Bay’s future
long-term Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) project – arrived
at the East London Harbour from Brazil.

It would have cost Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality an extra $150 000
(R1,18-million) had the buses docked in Port Elizabeth because the
shipping agent is based in Durban. So, we were able to share World Cup
excitement with Buffalo City and save NMB money,” said Keith Mitchell
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s acting public transport officer.

This would bring the total number of new articulated – or two buses
joined together – buses to 23 after nine arrived two weeks ago, also at
the East London Harbour. The buses, handled by Transport Port
Terminals, arrived five days earlier than expected on Sunday May 23 and
have been off-loaded over the past few days. They would be leaving East
London for Nelson Mandela Bay early this morning (26 May) travelling in
convoy along the coastal route of the Eastern Cape. An additional bus
has yet to arrive specifically designed for disabled people.

Jacqueline Brown, Gogo Manqoyi, Mayor Zukisa FakuThe Buffalo City
Executive Mayor Zukisa Faku headed down to the East
London harbour yesterday to take a look at the “snazzy” busses and bade
them well on their way to Nelson Mandela Bay. She said she was proud to
be the first to welcome the buses to the Eastern Cape.

“This joint initiative shows how the Eastern Cape province, Buffalo
City and Nelson Mandela Bay are all working together to ensure a
vibrant and successful 2010 FIFA World Cup and provincial cohesion with
less than three weeks to go till kick-off at Soccer City,” said Faku.

Gogo Manqoyi from the 2010 World Cup provincial government unit said
seeing the buses for the first time was a “touching moment”. “Once you
see those buses in reality, it makes you realise that the World Cup is
here, it’s finally real. It’s also exciting to have buses of an
international standard in the province. As Africans and as Buffalo City
we felt touched to be a part of this experience,” said Manqoyi.

Transnet National Ports Authority communication manager Terry Taylor
said the vessel off-loaded  the 14 buses and 500 SUV’s for
import into the local market and departed with 1559 locally
manufactured vehicles bound for the United States market, good for the
Eastern Cape automotive economy.

“This is certainly a unique moment for South Africa and East London.
The buses are really something to behold: 18.3 metre articulated
carriers, it’s made us look forward to East London’s introduction of
the IPTS, but for the mean time we are happy we could play a part
and they on their way to Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Taylor.

He also emphasized that the current industrial action by Transnet
employees had not impacted on the delivery of the buses in any way.
“Fortunately the East London port was able to dock and sail all of its
vessels by implementing its contingency plan which ensured we had all
the necessary manpower and marine craft to dock vessels.”

He added that the buses were loaded onto an earlier shipment, which was
“good planning” as it pre-empted issues around the industrial action.
Taylor said the buses took about 20 days to arrive from Brazil.

The buses can carry 115 people (80 standing and 35 seated) and cost
R3,8-million each. Training for
drivers started last week with lecture sessions and driving kicking-off
later this week, Mitchell confirmed. During the course of the World Cup
the new buses will be managed and operated by Laph’ Umilanga Transport
Services Cooperative Ltd before being integrated into the new transport
plans after the event.

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