UFH staff and students riding in style with new R3 million fleet injection

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The University of Fort Hare (UFH) has invested R3 million in student and staff mobility after taking ownership of four new commuter buses that were purchased last month.

The four new 22-seater busses, three Iveco’s and one Mercedes Benz Sprinter were unveiled last week, a few minutes after the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu delivered the official opening address on the Alice campus.

Three more busses (2 x 65-seater) and a 65-seater disability-friendly bus, are expected to be delivered in the next few months as part of the University’s bigger fleet replacement plan.

 UFH fleet’s total seating for student and staff commuters relying on University transport now stands at 430, following the procurement of the new busses.

With UFH’s existing commuter bus fleet offering a combined seating capacity of 342 before purchasing of the new busses, the University will have increased its fleet seating capacity by 25,7% even after the asset disposal of the older fleet, which comprises eight busses.

According to Mr Mbulelo Gingcana, UFH Acting Fleet Manager, the fleet replacement plan was started by the late Fleet Manager, Mr Petrus Roets who was assassinated in May last year.

“We started the process a few months before Mr Roets’ assassination. We are pleased that his aspiration to provide safe transportation to the University’s staff and students has been realized,” said Mr Gingcana.

Dr. Nosisa Mayaba, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Fort Hare said the expansion of the UFH bus fleet was undertaken as a result of an aging fleet, increased demand for shuttle services by staff and students, to realize better newer fuel efficiency mobility solutions, and selecting with technologies for lower carbon emissions.

The UFH student and staff transit fleet provides weekday shuttle services to and from East London and Alice and vice versa and is also used for transporting students for extracurricular events such as sports to destinations inside and outside of the Eastern Cape.

“We are realising significant cost saving through the bus commuter for staff, and we also know that some studies argue that public bus transit dramatically reduces Green House Gas (GHG) emissions,” she said.

Mr. Charles Matumba, UFH CFO said the University made a responsible and proudly South African purchase.   “The majority of the busses were procured in support of a South African OEM with a commuter bus assembly plant and bought locally,” he said.

Commenting on the new fleet acquisition, an excited UFH SRC President Siphokazi Mbalo said: “Students have been longing for safer and comfortable transportation between campuses and the new busses have made that possible for us. We are particularly excited about the disability-friendly busses as it indeed proves that we are University that strives for inclusivity.”