Ticket vendors making profits

23 February 2011
Buying a ticket from an authorised vendor
Selling tickets for Rea Vaya bus trips has more than one benefit for the vendor: they make money, and there is also the potential to create more employment, as ticket sellers in Soweto are discovering.

Validating the ticket for the bus
Validating the ticket for the bus

BUSISIWE MASOJA is loving her life. She works as a Rea Vaya ticket vendor in Dobsonville, and her business is thriving.


Masoja became a vendor in October 2010 and found it an easy transition to make. "I was a taxi owner before, and got involved because I am a shareholder." She refused to let her involvement end there, though, and she attributes her success to having "taken my business to the next level".


There are more than 30 vendors across Johannesburg where commuters can buy their tickets, in addition to the 34 stations. Most of the ticket vendors are in Soweto along the feeder and complementary routes, as there are no stations from which to buy tickets.


This is where the opportunity arises for entrepreneurial types like Masoja to make the most of the gap in the market. Spaza shop owners in particular have taken advantage of this chance to add to their income.


However, not just anyone can become a vendor. A potential seller needs to get accreditation from Traffic Management Technologies South Africa, known as TMT, which is responsible for vendor operations. The accredited vendors then have an area of exclusive use where they can sell their tickets.


And sell tickets they do. "I sell about 3 500 tickets per day," Masoja says. This provides a quite sizeable supplementary income, with tickets ranging in price from R3,50 to R9,50 depending on which route the passenger is travelling.


Trunk routes are the main ones; at present, this is between Thokoza Park Station in Soweto and Ellis Park Station in Doornfontein, and tickets cost R6 one-way.


Complementary routes, as the name suggests, add extended options to the main route and tickets cost R3,50 for the circular inner city route and R6 for the Dobsonville to CBD trip. Then there are feeder routes, which run from outer suburbs and join up with a trunk route at a key station. Tickets on these routes cost R9,50.


Masoja's jurisdiction falls directly under Rea Vaya's complementary route between Dobsonville and the CBD, where tickets cost R6 for a one-way trip.


Despite the potential for profit, this is not her only driving force for the business. She genuinely enjoys her occupation. "When I'm not working, I feel like there is something missing."


Working as a vendor also enables job creation, an important part of Rea Vaya's credo. As the number of passengers increases, so does the need for workers to alleviate demand and expedite the process of buying a ticket.


Masoja understands this – and, in fact, even welcomes it. "My favourite part of the job is the fact that I get to employ people." It is a chance for her to improve not only her own life, but the lives of those in the community of which she is part; and it is part of the reason she does it.


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