A partnership between bus company Putco and fleet-management organisation Netstar has enabled Putco to exponentially improve the safety of its fleet at a time when people are especially reliant on essential bus services.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown regulations mean that mobility is limited and licensed transport operators such as Putco are responsible for much of the people movement within and between provinces.
The partnership between Putco and Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron, means commuter safety is better than ever. A network of onboard cameras ensures Putco can monitor adherence to social-distancing guidelines, check that drivers and passengers are wearing masks, that passengers are sanitised when boarding the bus and that there is compliance with lockdown curfews. In addition, road safety performance has been significantly improved.
“Netstar telematics and fleet intelligence monitoring services allow Putco to check that passengers and staff are following all hygiene and lockdown protocols during the pandemic,” said Netstar Managing Director Pierre Bruwer. “We have been able to save lives on the roads using telematics, and we are sure we can continue doing that by ensuring Covid-19 compliance.”
The relationship between the two organisations began after Putco experienced a spate of fatal accidents along the Moloto road corridor between Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
“After those incidents, we wanted to do everything in our power to change the situation going forward,” said Putco Group Operations Executive Jack Sekwaila. “We were determined to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
To achieve this, Netstar partnered with Putco to leverage the benefits of telematics and technology to monitor its fleet and its drivers, in order to improve driver behaviour and save lives.
“We installed Netstar fleet-management cameras, fuel-theft monitoring systems, and driver behaviour monitoring systems across the fleet,” said Bruwer. “This has enabled Putco to track data on harsh braking and acceleration, which has helped to encourage best practice through training. It’s been very rewarding to see the improvement.”
The technology-driven, enhanced safety protocols introduced by Netstar have produced impressive results, with Putco reducing accidents by 70% and damage claims by 36%.
A recent Putco statement1 reported that in the 2016/17 financial year, the company recorded 61 accidents and that by end of December 2019, this number has dropped to 18.
Besides these safety improvements, Putco also adheres to all Covid-19 health-and-safety regulations. Social distancing and mask-wearing protocols are followed on its services, and it conducts regular deep-cleaning of its buses.
“Today, Netstar is more than just our tracking and technology partner,” said Sekwaila. “What their hardware and software technology allows us to do is incredible. It gives us peace of mind, so we can focus on moving people safely during the lockdown, on a daily basis”.