Gauteng calls for more buses, trains

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pretoria - Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Bheki Nkosi has appealed to other public transport providers to increase their services around places affected by the taxi strike in Johannesburg.

Angry members of the taxi industry last month threatened to use violent protests against the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system's new routes as they felt their livelihood was being threatened.

MEC Nkosi called on institutions such as Metrorail, PUTCO and others to make more trains and private buses available to assist commuters going to work.

"We are calling on Metrorail to make available more train coaches, including shuttle trains, on more than regular frequency periods in the South and Western parts of Joburg, especially in the early morning and late evening peak periods" Nkosi said.

The department has repeated its call for commuters to continue to make arrangements for alternative means of transport to go to work, or to arrive at the nearest rail or the BRT stations.

MEC Nkosi has advised affected commuters to plan their trips early to make up for lost time.

Departmental spokesperson, Philemon Motshwaedi said law enforcement agencies will deal with any acts of intimidation.

"While we recognise and respect the democratic right of the taxi industry to engage in a strike protest action, we expect them to recognise and respect the right of commuters to travel to their various destinations safely and unhindered," he said.

All law enforcement agencies, including the South African Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, have raised the safety and security red flag after a BRT bus was shot at in Soweto in a drive-by shooting on Friday.

They are gearing themselves in anticipation of possible sabotage activities aimed at rendering alternative public transport services ineffective.