The roll-out of the final phase of the bus-rapid transit (BRT) system will be delayed by two weeks, Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo announced on Friday.
“After listening to the concerns raised in the meeting [with taxi operators], the [City of Johannesburg] has agreed to delay the implementation of the feeder buses for a period of two weeks,” he said.
The city was supposed to begin implementing the final phase of the BRT from March 1 to May.
The decision to delay the implementation came after taxi operators called off a strike that was planned for Thursday.
The United Taxi Association Forum (Utaf) and South African Commuter Organisation met Masondo, who was accompanied by the mayoral committee for transport, on Thursday evening.
The city said Utaf members raised concerns with the Rea Vaya BRT roll-out and in particular with the planned roll-out of feeder buses.
They further indicated that they felt left out of the negotiation process.
“I welcome the decision of further affected taxi operators to come into a negotiation process with the city where differences can be reconciled.
“These two weeks should give sufficient time for affected operators to make significant progress in ensuring that there is co-existence between the Rea Vaya BRT and some sections of the taxi industry that presently feel excluded,” Masondo said.
The city said it had always involved the taxi industry in the Rea Vaya project, with a significant number of affected operators, since August 2009.
However, in line with its approach to be as inclusive as possible, the city agreed to the postponement to get further taxi operators on board.
“We do not foresee this as a setback in the negotiation process,” said member of the mayoral committee for transport Rehana Moosajee.
She said the project was on track and would be ready to transport Soccer World Cup spectators in June and serve the people of Johannesburg. — Sapa