Bus boycott hangs on meeting today

Whether thousands of Lenasia bus commuters will continue their bus boycott next week depends on whether the Local Road Transportation Board agrees to a cut in tariffs today (Friday).

Commuters have been boycotting the only bus service in Lenasia (privately owned) since the beginning of this month in protest against an overall 40% hike in tariffs over the past five months. They have already succeeded in forcing down the tariff this past week but the Transportation Board first has to approve the cut before it becomes legal.

If the Board does not approve of the cut today the boycott will continue. The present tariff, which led
commuters into protest action, is R2,80 for a return ticket from Lenasia to Johannesburg. The Transvaal Indian Congress, which has actively supported the boycott, claims that up to 950o of regular commuters have been supporting the boycott.

“This boycott proves that the democratic organisations of the oppressed people are in a position to effectively take up their own issues,” acting publicity secretary of the TIC. Isu Chiba, said this week. Chiba said the TIC had participated in assisting the Federation of Residents’ Associations, who spearheaded and organised the boycott, by helping to distribute leaflets outlining the demands of commuters and in calling on car owners in Lenasia to pick up hitch hikers.

“The car owners have given bus commuters tremendous support in providing lifts to and from Joha nesburg,” Chiba said. The commuters’ demands include:

  • That the increases be scrapped because they are not justified in the present economic climate and especially in view of the growing number of unemployed;
  • That increases only be instituted after negotiation and consultation with the community;
  • That the weekly ticket system be replaced by a daily coupon system;
  • That the monopoly of the bus service in Lenasia be ended;
  • That an internal bus service bus be started (at present there is only return bus service to Johannesburg);
  • That a Sunday bus service be re-introduced; and
  • That special tariffs be introduce for the aged, the unemployed and for scholars.

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