Stranded Durban commuter walks 90 minutes to work

2015-09-22 10:57
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PICS: Commuters stranded after eThekwini taxi clampdown

Commuters have been left without public transport in the eThekwini Municipality after 300 vehicles were impounded at the weekend. View pics as the situation unfolds here.

Durban - It was a long, long walk for commuter Spha Zikalala, 30, from Chesterville on Tuesday morning.

To get to his job at Standard Bank in town, he had to brave 90 minutes on foot from his home. But he was not alone.

A decision was taken on Monday to suspend all public transport in the eThekwini municipality after 300 vehicles were impounded at the weekend, following a meeting between the taxi industry and the city, spokesperson Thozi Mthethwa said.

At the meeting it was resolved there would be no buses, taxis and metered taxis operating in the city with immediate effect until the impounded vehicles were released.

For Zikalala and thousands of other commuters, this meant the long walk, for some arriving at work late.

"The taxi issue is uncalled for and is a result of poor planning and communication between taxi associations and the municipality," he said.

"The people who are taking taxis are suffering. The government needs to step up its game. They want to find ways to tax and govern public transport, but bring no solutions to the table."

Fellow commuter Thembeka Vilakazi said she walked from Cato Manor to Stamford Hill Road, a distance of roughly 10km.

"This is the longest I've ever had to walk. I just want taxis to be back as soon as possible. This is very difficult for me. I am meant to be at work at 07:30, not 09:00."

Spha Zikalala points to his place of work that took him 90 minutes to walk to. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Strong police presence

There was a strong Metro Police presence throughout most of the CBD on Tuesday morning, with the city centre oddly quiet with taxis only moving around to fill up with fuel or have their vehicles washed.

Wwe just want any form of transport,” commuter Sizwe Ndlovu said.

"The issues the municipality is having are their own. What did they expect to happen? This is dropping the economy of the city. There was clearly no planning. Look at this place - it is the hub of Durban and there isn't a single taxi."

Metro Police on Monday impounded 305 vehicles, including 163 minibus taxis, 120 meter taxis, 18 Durban Transport Municipal Buses, and four private buses, most reportedly operating without valid route permits.

Mthethwa earlier said all impounded vehicles would only be released after an admission of guilt fine was paid.

Commuters have been urged to make alternative transport arrangements until further notice.

Durban was rocked by an attack at the Brook Street Taxi rank last Wednesday, when gunmen opened fire, killing three people and wounding three more. It is speculated that a fight about taxi routes could be behind the attack.

Heavy police presence just outside Warwick. junction outside DUT City Campus. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Read more on:    durban  |  transport

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