CHAOS AWAITS SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUTERS AHEAD OF LONG HOLIDAY WEEKEND

JOHANNESBURG– A chaos lies ahead this coming long weekend as a strike in the bus sector in South Africa continues with thousands of long-distance commuters scrambling to find alternative transport.

Trying to avert this scenario are Transport Minister Blade Nzimande and Labour Minister Mildred Olifant who are meeting representatives of the unions and the transport companies in an effort to avert the strike.

The unions are demanding a pay increase of 9.0 per cent in the first year and 8.5 per cent in the second while employers are offering 8.0 per cent and 9,0 per cent, respectively.

Abandoned ticket cubicles at the Park Station bus terminus here Thursday did not deter desperate commuters trying to find a way to reach their destinations. Many others are hoping to get their monies back to find alternative transport.

I have a bus ticket, but the problem is to leave. I have now come to cancel the ticket. We came here yesterday (Wednesday) for a ticket, but all the tills were closed. We are here today and still no ticket.

AutoPax, a passenger tickeing service provider, says the situation is dire. We are finding ourselves in a tough situation; no manpower! Alternative transport must be found, says Autopax Chief Executive Officer Nathi Khena.

At the Wanderers Taxi Rank in Johannesburg, long-distance taxis are being swamped by travellers.

With the long Labour Day weekend ahead, there is added pressure at ranks like one at Wanderers from which long-distance passengers depart. The number of passengers travbelling by taxis has more than doubled because of to the bus strike.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK