Buses on fire‚ taxis on strike and train delays cause commuter nightmare in Cape Town
Commuters already affected by disruption to passenger train services were warned to expect even more woes after three buses were attacked and two torched in Cape Town on Monday.
Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development Councillor Brett Herron said he had been alerted to passengers being intimidated or forced off buses and suggested that some of the violence could be linked to a minibus-taxi strike.
Golden Arrow suspended services in Khayelitsha‚ Delft and Nyanga in Cape Town early on Monday after two of its buses were set alight.
Two MyCiTi buses were attacked en route to the Kuyasa station just before the morning peak-hour service in Khayelitsha and a third MyCiTi bus was stoned along the N2 freeway. No injuries were reported.
“I was extremely concerned when the City was informed over the weekend about the (taxi) industry’s plans to withhold their services as from this morning‚” said Herron in a statement on Monday afternoon.
“My worst fears were confirmed when reports came through about the attacks on the MyCiTi buses and the torching of two (Golden Arrow)‚ also near Kuyasa in Khayelitsha during the morning peak-hour period. I was also alerted to incidents of bus commuters being intimidated and being forced off buses at Kuyasa.”
He said the MyCiTi service in Khayelitsha would remain suspended until further notice.
“I want to condemn‚ in the strongest possible terms‚ the violence that is often associated with protest action. It is totally unacceptable that the MyCiTi service and (Golden Arrow) are being targeted while we are trying our utmost to assist commuters who are left stranded as a result of the minibus-taxi industry withholding its services‚” said Herron.
The decision to halt services by the minibus-taxi industry related to internal industry leadership issues.
Besuthu Ndungane from the Minibus-Taxi Industry Task Team‚ which supported the strike‚ said earlier that taxi operators did not attack the Golden Arrow buses.
“It would be incorrect that we would be expected to take responsibility of the buses that have been torched. We don’t even know how were they torched and how is their schedule made‚” he said.
“The challenges Metrorail is facing at the moment have displaced thousands of commuters to road-based public transport‚ with the minibus-taxi industry being one of the key service providers. Our commuters are the worst affected by this strike action‚ and either arrive late or cannot get to and from work to earn a living‚” said Herron.
MyCiTi commuters were warned of possible delays‚ and taxi commuters were urged to make alternative travel arrangements.