Not enough buses to ferry commuters

2010-05-17 10:05

Durban - Some 180 000 train commuters were left without transport on Monday morning as the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) strike began in KwaZulu-Natal, a provincial Metrorail spokesperson said.

“No trains were operating this morning [Monday]… We have about 180 000 commuters daily travelling in Metrorail trains,” said Thandi Mkhize.

She urged train commuters to find alternative transport until the strike ends.

“Unfortunately this time we do not have buses to accommodate commuters because the strike is too big. Usually we can accommodate travellers when it’s a small group of people,” said Mkhize.

Security plan

She said there was a security plan in place ensuring that Metrorail’s assets were not damaged.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said no incidents of violence had been reported to the police by Monday at 09:00.

KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Alliance spokesperson Bafana Mhlongo said minibus taxi drivers were up by 03:00 on Monday to ensure commuters would arrive on time at their destinations.

“At the moment everything is going well. We are working very hard. Our drivers will finish work very late today [Monday] to make sure that everyone gets home,” said Mhlongo.

He said taxis were more than capable of carrying the large number of people without transport in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Whenever the buses are on strike we always step in to assist. We are more than capable to do the job,” Mhlongo said.

Strike on track

United Transport and Allied Workers Union (Utatu) provincial spokesperson Raymond Sakloo said the strike was on track and no trains were operating on Monday morning.

Members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) and Utatu started a strike on Monday morning, leaving about two million commuters countrywide stranded.

The strike by nearly 12 000 workers severely disrupted Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl operations.

Prasa had upped a five percent across the board offer to eight percent while the unions were demanding a 16% increase.

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