Pretoria taxi drivers attack new bus service
Taxi drivers have declared war on the newly appointed bus company that started ferrying passengers between Pretoria and Mamelodi this week. After stoning and damaging four of Autopax's City to City buses yesterday, the defiant taxi drivers vowed to continue trying to stop the company operating in Mamelodi.National Taxi Alliance spokesman in Gauteng Alpheus Mlalazi said the taxi industry wanted Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi to hand over the route to minibus taxis or give the same subsidies to taxis that buses on the route enjoy."We are saying, if you do not want to bring us in, give us a subsidy," he said.Mlalazi insisted that the introduction of Autopax buses was a " provocation" to the taxi industryThe SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union called for the government to find a quick resolution to the problem.Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu asked: "Who owns these routes? It is the government. Therefore, the state must exercise oversight on this thing and act responsibly."At the end of the day sanity must prevail. Nobody must be disadvantaged because somebody wants to get more money," he said.Vadi met representatives of the SA National Taxi Council and of the National Taxi Alliance yesterday.He said later that "the door has been left open to find a solution"."Our primary responsibility is to ensure continuity of public transport services to commuters, and their safety, not just in Mamelodi but throughout the province," the MEC said.Autopax replaced Putco bus services in Pretoria this week, but for the second day in a row the buses were barricaded into their depot by protesting taxi drivers demanding that taxi associations be given the licence to operate the Mamelodi route.Commuters were stranded yesterday and some fled the stoning, fearing for their lives.Some of the buses got out of the Mamelodi depot under police escort.