Department probes claims of ‘irregular’ bus services after taxi strike

Commuters were left stranded on Tuesday and Wednesday when taxi drivers refused to operate on account of “irregular” bus services. PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

The Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport has launched an urgent investigation into allegations brought forward by local taxi associations and Interstate Bus Lines (IBL).

This after disgruntled taxi drivers switched off their engines and demanded that buses do the same earlier this week; leaving countless commuters in Bloemfontein without transportation for two days.

Bloemfontein Courant reported that taxi drivers complained that public buses were not regulated and operated irregularly. “We are not happy with the way that the buses operate. There are approximately four buses every hour and they get subsidised by the state while we have to pay for everything ourselves,” said a driver who did not want to be named.

“We want them to at least operate until 17:30 but they do not cooperate. All they do is keep adding more and more buses to routes. We have to cooperate with one another because this business is not just theirs but for both taxis and buses,” he added.

IBL CEO, George Mokgothu, said that allegations of illegal operations are untrue.

According to IBL’s Stakeholder Relations Manager Vuyo Ondala, a meeting will be held on Friday to report on the investigation. “The Head of Department will convene a meeting on Friday 26 July 2019 with IBL, taxi association representatives as well as other stakeholders who took part in the meeting on Wednesday, to receive feedback,” he said.

Ondala explained that public transportation has resumed while investigations take place. “Both IBL and taxi associations must resume normal operations with immediate effect. No disruption of services must take place going forward,” he elaborated.