Taxi owners fear city bus network will 'rob us of our bread'

2012-02-21 00:00

A MEETING has been scheduled for Thursday to address local taxi owners’ concern that the Msunduzi Municipality’s proposed integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN) will hamper their business.

This follows a meeting among taxi owners in the city, who said yesterday they were worried that the multi-billion-rand public transport plan would thereaten their livelihood.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela on Thursday unveiled the public transport plan to help alleviate traffic congestion, reduce transport times and create jobs, during the launch of the R3 billion first phase of the IRPTN.

The initiative will be similar to the bus rapid transit system in Cape Town and Johannesburg, which will see separate traffic lanes for buses, taxis, bicycles and pedestrians.

There will be specially constructed bus stops and areas designated for picking up passengers.

The project will be rolled out over five years.

Taxi owners gathered in their numbers outside the Hoosen Haffejee Street offices of the Msunduzi Regional Taxi Council, demanding answers from their leaders as to whether there had been consultation before the launch.

A spokesperson for the concerned owners, T.M Mamane, said they want the IRPTN explained to them and taxi drivers in detail.

“We don’t want to find ourselves in a situation where we are being robbed of bread for our families,” said Mamane.

He said they want an explanation from the municipality, not from the taxi association leaders.

Boy Zondi, chairperson of Msunduzi Regional Taxi Council, said consultation with taxi owners and drivers should be thorough and extensive.

Their gripe, he said, emanated from lack of consultation before the launch.

He added that he had been told of the launch only two days before.

Zondi said the meeting should be addressed by Ndlela and not just the consultant tasked with the drafting of the transport plan.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said that as Ndlela and municipal manager, Mxolisi Nkosi, had stated during the launch, consultation with all stakeholders was of paramount importance.

Thursday’s meeting will be held at the Sinodale Centre in Burger Street from 10 am.

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