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Nine injured as gunmen open fire on buses

Nine people were injured in two separate incidents when gunmen opened fire on Rea Vaya buses in Soweto, police said on Saturday.

A police spokesperson said it was believed the attacks were carried out by different gunmen.

Gunmen opened fire on a Rea Vaya bus — wounding four in Orlando West — and left one of them in a critical condition.

In the second incident a driver and four passengers were injured when a bus was shot at in Moletsane.

Monopoly on mass transport
Johannesburg’s collective taxi drivers for decades enjoyed a monopoly over mass transport as the apartheid government systematically ignored the transportation needs of the black majority.

The system aims to place more than 85% of Johannesburg’s population within 500m of a bus network.

Instead of weaving through traffic with the city’s famously aggressive taxi drivers, BRT users make a train-like commute in dedicated lanes with regular time-tables and designated stops, paying less money than the taxis charge.

The buses so far link Soweto with central Johannesburg, making stops near the downtown Ellis Park, and Soccer City, venue for the June 11 opening of the Soccer World Cup and the July 11 final.

The BRT was launched in August 2009 and in February added a network of shuttle buses as part of a phased expansion scheduled for completion in 2013.

At each step, taxi drivers have protested violently against the programme, burning tyres to obstruct roads and firing shots at BRT buses.

Two people were injured by gunshots during last year’s protests. A Rea Vaya driver, whose house was petrol-bombed last month, claimed he was targeted because he left his job as a taxi driver to work for BRT. – Sapa

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