‘New bus system will hit taxi trade’

2014-06-14 00:00

THE KZN Taxi Alliance is threatening to make Durban ungovernable should the municipality implement its Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.

Alliance secretary Bafana Mhlongo said reports that they had agreed to the project are lies. He said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the municipality and the industry was signed by people who expected kickbacks once the project was in motion.

“Our recent march to the city hall was an indication that we are against the project,” said Mhlongo yesterday. “Taxi owners were not consulted. How can we allow buses to be brought onto our routes knowing full well that this will cost us money and jobs?

“We were told by senior people from within the eThekwini Transport Authority that those who signed the MOU with the municipality demanded kickbacks in the form of jobs to manage the bus system, money, houses and luxury cars, so you can’t say those people represent the Alliance.”

Mhlongo said the Alliance was fractured by people who have personal interests, including its president Gerald Ferror. “Taxi owners were not consulted about the BRT. Ferror and individuals close to him signed for this without consulting the various taxi associations affiliated to the Alliance.

“That is dangerous because there will be chaos if the municipality start bringing buses on taxi routes.”

Ferror said there was consultation with the taxi industry, but denied allegations that the Alliance was pushing for the system in exchange for jobs, luxury cars and cash.

“Mhlongo and his group make us look like fools by marching to the city hall in protest of the BRT system,” said Ferror. “There are minutes and signed registers of the meetings which were held with various stakeholders regarding the implementation of the system.

“In April the Alliance consultant and lawyer briefed us on the progress made on the project. There’s no way that the municipality will drop this project because a lot of work and money has already been pumped into it.”

The BRT system is part of the City’s Integrated Rapid Public Transport System (IRPTN) which is expected to go live in five years.

The R20 billion project will see Phase 1 operational by 2018 and the remainder of the system completed by 2027. It is expected to incorporate buses, taxis and trains into a single public transport system with commuters having to swipe a card.

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