Western Cape travel plan working

2010-05-17 22:37

Cape Town - The Western Cape contingency plan for the Metrorail strike was working, authorities said on Monday at the end of the first day of the strike.

Metrorail completely shut down its commuter services in the province, forcing thousands of people to seek other means of transport.

The provincial transport ministry, the City of Cape Town, Golden Arrow Bus Services, taxi representatives and the provincial chamber of commerce said in a statement that they met on Monday afternoon to review the impact of the strike.

"The group is satisfied that the plan it put in place to mitigate the impact of the strike is working," it said.

No violence

There had been no violence at public transport facilities in the province.

There had been a 70% increase of passengers for taxis which had led to a massive rise in traffic volumes on key routes.

Golden Arrow had provided 197 extra buses and 200 extra morning peak bus trips.

"The group applauded passengers for their peaceful conduct whilst queuing for taxis and buses," it said.

"They reiterated the need for all road users to be patient on the roads during this difficult time."

Acting director of the chamber Albert Schuitmaker told a briefing in Cape Town earlier that businesses reported that absenteeism had been "very, very low, almost negligible".

There had been late arrivals but most businesses surveyed had reported that all their employees were eventually at work.

"A lot of businesses actually provided transport for their employees to get to work, which worked well, to the point that some employees arrived earlier than (they) usually do," he said.

Unions, Transnet, Prasa 'unimpressive'

The city's transport director Mike Marsden said the city had expected some disruption of municipal services.

However there had been very good attendance by city employees, and services were unaffected.

Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle said at the briefing that he and other authorities in the province were "relatively unimpressed" with Transnet, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA and unions.

"It's not for us to direct how they should handle their affairs, but it is for us to note that they have grievously inconvenienced most of the people of the province, certainly of the city," he said.

However well the alternative transport options were working the economy was seriously affected.

"Our message to them is get your act together and get it together fast," he said.