The national bus strike continues into its third week.Commuters in the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD) will continue to face long queues at the Bree taxi rank as a result of the ongoing national bus strike. The average wait time for a taxi from the CBD to most parts of the city has increased to half an hour during peak times as the rank is now forced to also accommodate the bus users.
Titus Muhambe, a taxi driver operating at the Bree taxi rank, said that although the taxi rank usually has long queues during peak hours, because of the bus strike the legth of the queues has increased.
“The problem we are facing is that buses and taxis have the same peak hours. So the people who usually use buses are now coming to the taxi rank at the same time as people who regularly use taxis. At around 5pm to 6pm is our peak hour and that’s why we have longer queues,” Muhambe said.
Hlengiwe Mashini, who lives in Diepkloof, Soweto, said the bus strike has caused her to wait longer in queues.
“The queues are unbearably long. I have to wait up to 30 minutes for me to get into a taxi and I arrive home later than usual,” says the Wits Media Studies Honours student.
Kgomotso Ngwetjana, a second-year BEd student, who uses the bus as a means of transportation said that she is now forced to use taxis as an alternative means of transport
“I now have to take a taxi when I come to school or when I go to work at McAuley House. The strike has really inconvenienced me because I now spend between R100 to R200 a week whereas with the Rea Vaya bus, I usually load my card with R300 and it is enough to sustain me for the month,” Ngwetjana said.
I also now have to stand in long taxi queues which means I have to wake up very early in the morning,” added Ngwetjana.
The bus strike is now in its third week after attempts to reach an agreement between employers and unions have failed. Unions are set to meet today to discuss details of mass protests around the country.