South African bus fleets in the early nineteen-eighties [2]

Details of vehicles placed in service in the early eighties are continued here from article 147. As noted previously, minibus-taxis were making serious inroads in areas served by bus operators in the early nineteen-eighties. To compete with this situation, several concerns – notably the United and Cape Tramways groups – bought in small fleets of “midibuses” with 24 or 25 seats during 1984. The idea was not a conspicuous success. Other purposes were found for most of the vehicles, such as conversion to mobile ticket offices.


Mercedes 0305 rear-engine chassis were prominent in purchases by the Pretoria municipality. Following 45-seat single-deckers 171 to 198 bodied by Busaf at Port Elizabeth in 1981 and 1982 (and double-deckers 921 to 954 seating 98), the 1982 intake featured Springfield-bodied 54-seat single-deckers 741 to 779.

More 45-seat single-deckers (501-532) from Busaf at PE were delivered in 1983, followed by similar vehicles 541 to 547 in 1984, as well as 781 to 795 – though these seated 54 – also in 1984.


Several changes at the government-owned South African Railways (SAR) tended to confuse records from the nineteen-eighties. Prior to this time, all road motor vehicles were owned by the SAR, but this changed its name to South African Transport Services (Sats) in the early eighties.

The last vehicles officially owned by the SAR appear to have been 166 buses acquired in 1982 (nothing new was recorded in 1981).

Busaf in Port Elizabeth was the bodybuilder and all except nine were on DAF chassis. The exceptions ere six Isuzu TLD54 and three Mazda E3000.

In 1984, the renamed South African Transport Services (Sats) took eight Saurer vehicles into service. No details are known, except that they were single-deckers, bodied by Busaf at Port Elizabeth.

A number of Bussing and International single-deckers entered service with Sats in or immediately before 1984, but the only details known are that they were three-axle.

MAN vehicles bodied by Busaf were prominent acquisitions from 1984. Altogether 58 had been taken into service by the end of 1984, though substantial deliveries continued in 1985. We know only that they were single-deckers. Seating arrangements not recorded.

In addition there were three Internationals in the fleet by 1984 two with dual doorways, and a single ERF “Cambrian” with Craftsman body. No further details are available.


The Johannesburg municipal transport department gained 94 new 98-seat Busaf (Port Elizabeth) bodied double-deckers on Mercedes 0305 chassis in 1982. Numbers ranged from 594 to 638.

A further six – 639-644 – were acquired in 1983.

A final batch in 1984 took the number sequence to 674.


Pietermaritzburg municipality had an uncomplicated programme of additions to its fleet. In 1981, 20 Nissans were acquired, followed by another 12 in 1982. In 1983, 15 Isuzu were the only chassis bought. Busaf Port Elizabeth supplied 51-seat bodies in all cases.


Highveld United (Witbank)

Busaf Port Elizabeth supplied nine Leyland Victories to the Highveld company in 1981, two in 1982, and two in 1983. All had 70 seats. In 1984, three Toyota Dyna and one Mercedes 24 seat “midibuses” were delivered.

Midland United (Vryheid)

Busaf Port Elizabeth supplied seven Leyland Victory 2 vehicles to the Midland United company in 1981, and a further two in 1982.

Rustenburg Bus Services (Pty) Ltd

This United subsidiary bought in a number of Leyland Victory 2 models with 65-seat Busaf bodies. There were 16 in 1981, eight in 1982 and six in 1984.

United Transport group

Manufacturers’’ records reflect a substantial number of buses supplied to United Transport, though the actual operating companies are not known. Mercedes 1617 delivered in 1981 totalled 12. Leyland Victory 2 chassis reached 112, with a further 40 in 1982, 110 in 1983 and 130 in 1984. There were 25 ERF Trailblazers in 1983 and a further 25 in 1984. Mercedes supplied three chassis in 1982, 20 in 1983 and 20 in 1984.

Most of these buses were bodied by Busaf Port Elizabeth, with varying seating arrangements, though some in 1983 were bodied by Vaal Transport. There were also ten Toyota Dyna vehicles and 15 Mercedes “midibuses” in 1984, both lots having 24-seat Busaf bodies.

Vaal Transport Corporation (Vereeniging)

Four Leyland Victory 2 were added to the Vaal Transport fleet in 1981 and seven in 1982. Seating totals varied. There were also two Toyota Dyna 24-set midibuses in 1984. All were bodied by Busaf Port Elizabeth.

Western Greyhound at Klerksdorp

Busaf Port Elizabeth supplied two Victory 2 vehicles to United’s Western Greyhound company in 1981 and eight in 1982. In 1984, it delivered two 24-seat Mercedes “midibuses”.

Empangeni Transport (Pty) Ltd at Richards Bay

This United Transport subsidiary was a prolific customer for single-deck Leyland Victory 2 buses with Busaf (PE) bodywork and varying seating.

There were 69 in 1981, 29 in 1982, 54 in 1983 and 22 in 1984.

There were also two Toyota Dyna 25-seaters from Busaf supplied in 1984.

Greyhound Buslines in Johannesburg

Greyhound listed four Leyland 14B/IXL buses with 62-seat bodywork acquired in mid-1981. Eight 64-seat Leyland Victory 2 arrived at much the same time.

Fourteen further Victory 2 were delivered in 1982. All these were bodied by Busaf Port Elizabeth.

Lastly, in 1984, two 24-seat Mercedes “midibuses” were placed in service.


South African Transport Services Busaf-bodied MAN 22 280, 1984.

Sats coach showing baggage compartment.

ERF 512 at Greyhound (United Transport), nineteen eighties.

Pietermaritzburg 165 – a 1981 51-seat Nissan CB20N from Busaf in Port Elizabeth.

Pietermaritzburg: a 1980 51-seat Nissan CB20N from Busaf in P ort Elizabeth.

Busaf Port Elizabeth: typical (virtually standard) United Transport body.