I have to pay double to get to work now - bus commuter

2017-04-14 18:41
Buses stand emptyin the Algoa Bus Company terminus in Motherwell. (Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

Buses stand emptyin the Algoa Bus Company terminus in Motherwell. (Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

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Port Elizabeth - The countrywide bus drivers’ strike caught many passengers unaware in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Passengers who depend on Algoa Bus Company expressed anger and dismay that the organisers of the strike did not inform them in advance.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced on Friday afternoon that the bus strike is now over as the majority of unions reached an agreement. Numsa still has to reach an agreement.

Motherwell resident Tokello Janjies works in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage as a plumber. There is an Algoa bus that goes to KwaNobuhle every morning and returns in the evening. The return ticket costs R25. He explained to GroundUp, “It is cheaper and convenient to travel by bus. I am now taking four taxis for a return trip. It costs R18 from Motherwell to Uitenhage by taxis. I have to pay another R10 from Uitenhage to KwaNobuhle. There is no straight taxi to my work place.”

Janjies earns R3 500 a month. He lives with his unemployed wife and two kids who attend primary school.

Asanda Mhinga lives in Zwide and works as a domestic worker in Kabega Park.

The 31-year-old mother of four said if the strike continued she might be forced to give up her job. She explained, “I get a daily wage of R150 for the job that I do as a domestic worker. I spend nearly R30 for transport using a bus. Now I have to pay double the amount. I cannot continue like this. I have children who look to me for support. I appeal to the strikers and their bosses to quickly reach an agreement. They should acknowledge that passengers are the worst affected with this strike.”

The situation at the taxi ranks was normal as usual. In Motherwell, the Crossroad taxi rank only overflowed with people in the morning but for less than a hour. Taxi drivers who had hoped for extra were disappointed. A taxi driver who did not want to give his name said, “I woke up early yesterday and today hoping to find good business, but it appears business is as usual. I heard that some employers are supplying their workers with transport while other passengers have resorted to hitchhiking with their friends and motorists who work with them in the same areas.”  

The Njoli taxi rank in Zwide and the Port Elizabeth main taxi rank in Govan Mbeki avenue only recorded an increase in the afternoon when people were coming from work. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s spokesperson, Zandile Mbabela, said that the student shuttle services had been operating normally.

Algoa Bus Company Chief Executive Officer, Sicelo Duze, issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the company’s services would be suspended until further notice.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused as a result of the disruption of our services” he wrote.

According to the company it has a fleet of 400 buses serving Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, and employs 700 workers.

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