It is a sad day for Johannesburg long distance commuters and students who were hoping to make their way to Park Station to catch the Greyhound bus ahead of the new semester, as the company will cease to operate on Sunday.
The Luxury passenger coach announced its decision earlier this month, marking an end to 37 years of service.
It is also the end of the road for its subsidiary, Citiliner.
Unitrans, which owns Greyhound, has cited lockdown regulations, like the banning of interprovincial travel and curfew, as having played a role in its financial distress.
Many South Africans have expressed sadness at the move, which will see close to 700 workers losing their jobs.
Workers’ union, Numsa, has described this as a serious blow to workers and their families.
According to the company’s website, Greyhound used to service close to a million passengers a year, while Citiliner carried half a million a year.
Johannesburg long distance commuters and students hoping to make their way to Park Station to catch the Greyhound bus ahead of the new semester and those travelling back home in coming months for the Easter break will have to make other arrangements.
On Wednesday, the Luxury passenger coach, Greyhound, announced that it will be closing its doors this month.
Its subsidiary, Citiliner, is also expected to stop all operations on Valentine’s Day.
It is unclear what drove the company to shut its doors after 37 years of service.
Union federation, Cosatu, has described the move as regrettable.
The trade union federation’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, says many families will be left without an income.
Pamla says this is proof that South Africa needs a reliable, sustainable and integrated transport system.
The Democratic Alliance has called on Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to hold talks with the company in a bid to avert the shutdown.
Newly-formed political formation, Abantu Batho Congress, has expressed concern about the lack of explanation on Greyhound’s demise.
The organisation says the company’s fall signifies the urgency to rescue South Africa from business and government created societal corruption.
“Unitrans Holdings (PTY) Ltd that operated and owned the Greyhound bus service, amongst others, a wholly owned subsidiary of KAP International Holdings a company that is also a shareholder at Steinhof, where in turn, KAP also holds 25.9% shares. A rather bizarre arrangement, especially when one considers the very complex and mixed up business interests held by Steinhoff across several industries. The concentration of assets by Steinhoff in retail, manufacturing, logistics and other sectors, is placing many jobs at risk across South Africa, this would certainly be worsened by the COVID 19 pandemic,” it says.
The organisation adds that: “Now, terrible as this loss of the Greyhound bus service may be, the real tragedy lies in the loss of complete governance and controls at Steinhoff and the subsequent lack of action and recourse against Steinhoff by South African authorities, namely the Hawks.”
According to the company’s website, Greyhound services close to a million passengers a year, while Citiliner carries half a million a year.
Some of its customers have taken to social media to pay homage to the company that’s made their travel bearable over the years.