Identifying the challenges faced by a private bus operator
The present economic climate in which public transport companies operate is highly competitive and presents various challenges that hinder the growth of many operators. The public transport sector includes both subsidised and non-subsidised operators, and operators in the formal sector are more regulated than operators in the informal sector. Considering the resulting great variation in the operational environments within which operators function, external factors may have as much influence on the management of the company as internal factors. Therefore, it is beneficial for companies to identify the challenges that affect the industry of operators in the private sector, specifically bus operators. While various studies have been conducted on either the informal sector or the subsidised sector within the transport industry and the challenges operators face, literature on crucial factors influencing bus operators, particularly in the private sector, is lacking. This knowledge gap prevents the operators in this sector from remaining competitive and viable in the future. This study will enable managers and owners of passenger transport companies in the private bus operators sector to recognise the challenges faced in order to strategically align policies and operational strategies for future sustainability. This mini-dissertation is based on an analytical study that was conducted to identify the challenges faced by a private bus operator, and thereby offering insight into the operating environment. The findings and insights around these challenges will help management identify and incorporate operational and strategic elements into their short and medium term strategies that will secure a more sustainable continuation of business for their company. This study consists of four chapters. Chapter 1 provides the nature and the scope of the study, the background to the study, the research problem, objectives, methodology, and limitations. Chapter 2 provides a theoretical literature review of the public transport industry in South Africa and the challenges bus operators face. Chapter 3 involves an empirical review and content analysis. Lastly, Chapter 4 includes an overall overview and conclusion of the study, and recommendations for future research.