The Bus Factory is an industrial structure that was built to house Johannesburg's tram repair facilities in the first half of the 20th century. In the 1970s the structure was converted into a garage for the double-decker buses that replaced the tram system after the tram network was dismantled in 1961. The vast industrial structure houses a number of artists studios as well as the offices of the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and is a key part of the Newtown cultural district.
Electric powered trams and trolleybuses were introduced to the city of Johannesburg in 1936. In 1952 the apartheid government passed the Separate Amenities Act and one year later the city's buses became racially segregated. The buses that transported black people into the city from the townships did not stop within the central business district, because the apartheid government wanted to maintain the city centre as a whites-only area. Black passengers were forced to disembark the buses at a terminal in Newtown near the Bus Factory.
The Bus Factory building was extensively renovated in the late 2000s when it became the location for the JDA offices and numerous artworks which celebrate the city of Johannesburg were commissioned and installed within the building. The Bus Factory is also home to cultural organisations such as the acclaimed Artist Proof Studio, a print art studio that has fostered the talents of some of the city’s finest artists, and has also been home to the Market Photo Workshop, a leading photography school that offers support to talented photographers from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Entrance is free