Cops escort new BRT buses
Johannesburg - Police had to escort the roll-out of the latest phase of Johannesburg's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system on Monday while taxi drivers withdrew their services in protest against the system, leaving commuters stranded.
According to City of Johannesburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane, the Nancefield depot in Soweto was blocked with rocks and stones.
Police had to be sent to the Merafhe station after receiving reports that commuters were being blocked from using the trains as an alternative to the strained BRT system.
"It is worrying that when a government which has been elected by people is trying to provide service... there are individuals who would want to hold the process to ransom," he said.
Bus stops vandalised
BRT bus stops were vandalised overnight and the city was working with security agents to track down the perpetrators.
"The City's position is that the doors are always open for anyone that needs to engage. But the same people that claim to have not been consulted, are the ones who keep coming into negotiations then walking out," he said.
The services being rolled out on Monday include a new complementary bus service running directly from Dobsonville to the Johannesburg central business district, and Ellis Park station, as well as feeder services transporting passengers from Naledi to Thokoza Park station, from Jabavu to Lake View station and from Mofolo to Boomtown station.
Worried about their livelihoods and claiming not to have been adequately consulted, some taxi companies refused to work on Monday, overloading the BRT system.