/ 30 August 2009

Taximen fret over launch of BRT

Taxi operators will meet on Monday to discuss the launch of the bus rapid transport system, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) said on Saturday.

The meeting follows the court judgement handed down on Friday which dismissed an urgent interdict by Santaco to stop the implementation of the system in Johannesburg, the council said in a statement.

”Santaco will call a general meeting with the membership to report the meaning of the judgement. This meeting will sit on August 31 2009 and further consider options in moving forward.”

The council added that it continued to ”promote constructive consultation and engagement”.

”The meeting will then be able to provide direction going forward.”

The taxi industry initially planned a strike to object to the BRT system which is scheduled to start operating on Monday.

Taxi operators claim the government asked them to register their routes and then used the same routes for the BRT without consulting them.

Earlier on Saturday, taxi industry representatives met with the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) to highlight their concerns over the BRT system.

Sanco spokesperson Dumisani Mthalane said: ”They [taxi operators] are not against the BRT, the problem is the understanding of the BRT because it has not been explained properly,” he said.

On Friday it was announced that an interim company would operate the buses until negotiations with the taxi industry were finalised.

The City of Johannesburg said: ”In terms of the agreement, the interim company will provide bus operating, maintenance, as well as security services to the City.”

The six-month contract was signed with a temporary company, termed a ”special purpose vehicle”.

Once the city and taxi operators finalise their agreement, the new Bus Operating Company will either take ownership of the special purpose vehicle, or may form a separate legal entity. – Sapa