Stranded bus commuters turn to taxi's

By Drum Digital
22 April 2013

There was a lot more activity than usual at the country's taxi ranks on Monday, as commuters left stranded by an ongoing nationwide bus strike took taxis instead to reach their destinations, said the SA National Taxi Association (Santaco).

It was trying to ensure taxi drivers were prepared to go the extra mile, said Santaco secretary-general Philip Taaibosch.

"We have ensured that taxis are not parked at the ranks. They must be in constant operation, so that the ranks are not overflowing with stranded commuters...," he said.

In Gauteng, heavy traffic was reported on the roads on Monday, but the Johannesburg metro police said this was not because of the bus strike.

"We experienced very heavy traffic, like a normal Monday. We do expect the heaviness might continue [on Tuesday] because more people might use their own cars as opposed to the buses," said spokeswoman Superintendent Edna Mamonyane.

The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) announced a nationwide strike last week, as a result of a deadlock in wage negotiations.

Workers were demanding an 18 percent increase in wages, while employers were offering 6.5 percent.

The City of Johannesburg announced on Sunday that Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit drivers were also going on strike, but that their action was not linked to that of SatawU.

The strike by bus drivers from Piotrans, the company which operates the Rea Vaya service, related to salary progression and the status of drivers who were shareholders in the company, the city said in a statement.

"We understand from Piotrans that the workers' demands are not the same as those of the workers involved in the nationwide strike as a result of the dispute at the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council," it said.

Piotrans had advised the city that the drivers would be on strike from 4am, and that it would seek an urgent Labour Court interdict to have the strike declare illegal.

While Gautrain buses were not operating in Johannesburg on Friday, municipal buses were on the roads.


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