taxi Alliance outlines concerns over BRT

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) has outlined their concerns over the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System that they will take to a meeting with Transport Minister Sbusiso Ndebele, in a date yet to be announced.

Briefing reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday, NTA general secretary Alpheus Mlalazi said they wanted to meet with the minister to discuss their concerns over the Bus Rapid Transit System, among other things.

"We are ready for negotiations with the Transport Minister and the process should be inclusive to all structures within the taxi industry.

"We need a thorough explanation about the feasibility and sustainability of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) as well as how it is going to benefit our industry," he said.

The NTA's critical priority issues to be discussed with Mr Ndebele includes the BRT, the taxi recapitalisation programme, NTA official recognition by government and disabling legislations.

He said the NTA will enter the negotiations with a positive mind and with the sole objective of finding a lasting solution to every identified problem.

"It is our belief that this time around, no lose ends will remain untied even if it means we are to climb the tallest thorny tree or the highest mountain in order for the taxi industry to emerge victorious for the benefit of its members and commuters," he said.

Government has constituted a National Joint Working Group on Public Transport to deal with issues in the taxi industry.

The National Working Group on Public Transport will drive the BRT system and other public transport issues.

This was announced by Mr Ndebele two weeks ago following his meeting with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO).

It is expected that the taxi industry will also select its own team of representatives.

It will also deal with operational matters and the role of taxi operators and how they will be part of the process.

The team will be expected to draft an economic empowerment plan, discuss licensing and regulatory problems and formulate a training and capacity building programme to benefit the taxi industry.

Taxi operators (especially the NTA) have been at loggerheads with government over the implementation of the BRT claiming it would lead to job losses.

The NTA believe the BRT is designed to replace the taxi industry in all the routes it will be implemented on.

In his State of the Nation Address, the President Jacob Zuma confirmed that there would be a series of engagements with the stakeholders affected by the BRT system.

He expressed confidence that unresolved issues would be dealt with to the satisfaction of all parties.

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