Taxi sector offers to help stranded commuters

2017-04-13 14:00
Stranded bus travellers waiting for delayed buses at the long-distance bus station in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

Stranded bus travellers waiting for delayed buses at the long-distance bus station in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday. (Thabang Mathebula)

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The taxi industry in KZN has a contingency plan in place to help bus commuters should the ongoing nationwide bus strike be prolonged.

The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) on Wednesday said long-distance commuters were likely to be the most affected by the nationwide bus strike.

At the Pietermaritzburg long-distance bus station on Burger Street yesterday morning, scores of commuters waited anxiously as buses were delayed.

It is believed that strikers had intimidated non-striking drivers, causing massive delays.

Some stranded travellers said they had received e-mails from their bus operators informing them that the strike would not affect their travelling schedules as there would be enough buses operating.

However, the passengers were disappointed when they realised there were no buses to take them to their destinations at the scheduled time.

Santaco provincial manager Sifiso Shangase said should push come to shove, short-distance minibus taxis will be deployed to assist the stranded bus passengers.

However, he said the short-distance operators will be required to acquire the temporary permit that will allow them to operate on long-distance routes.

He also added that this would not be used as an opportunity to inflate taxi fares.

“We understand that long-distance travellers will be the most affected by the strike.

“Therefore, we are ready to help stranded bus commuters to take them to their respective destinations.

“But we advise them to come to our ranks as we are not permitted to load from the bus stations.

“No taxi association will charge more because of this situation as Santaco also reviews taxi fares annually in July,” Shangase said.

The bus sector union, Satawu, tabled a 12% salary increase, but employers are offering 7,5%.

Numsa is calling for a 15% wage hike.

The two unions are also demanding a 12-hour working day, while the employers are sticking on 14 hours.

Cosatu spokesperson Zanele Sabela said if the employers care for their clients and employees, they should have thought about the scores of commuters who would be negatively affected by the strike.

“We are ready to engage with them. They know how to get hold of us when they are ready to talk,” Sabela said.

Both Satawu and Numsa have rejected the employer’s 7,5% offer.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  bus strike

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