Strike: commuters shiver in long taxi queues

Queues snaked around the busless terminus where taxis had moved the commuters to ease congestion at the packed ranks.
Winter declared her presence on the most inconvenient of mornings for Mitchell’s Plain commuters.

Disgruntled bus patrons stood for more than an hour in taxi queues, enduring biting winds and spatterings of drizzle as they made awkward calls to employers on the second day of the national bus strike.

“He said it’s fine but he doesn’t sound fine,” a waiter at a Cape Town restaurant murmured to his friend after calling his manager about coming late. 

“I was supposed to open,” he explained.

Shandre Manuel is grateful that her employers have been more understanding.

“They are being considerate about it because there is nothing we can do,” the Beacon Valley resident said.

Ms Manuel is annoyed that commuters weren’t given more warning of the planned strike.

“If we were notified in advance then we could have made alternate arrangements.”

Charmaine Feris of Rocklands said the strike was putting a strain on her pocket.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “We bought monthly clipcards. It’s unfair on us. In June the fairs go up and in January the fairs go up again. So they must see that the drivers get their money. It’s unfair.”

Andisiwe Ketelo of Mandalay was concerned that the taxis did not seem to be coping. The Plainsman noticed that drivers were over-filling their vehicles and one 16-seater pulled away with 22 passengers, excluding the driver and gaatjie.

“The taxis aren’t managing,” Ms Ketelo said. “We wait for 20 minutes before a taxi comes and then we wait another 10 minutes. It takes a long time. It’s inconvenient and it’s cold as well.”

Negotiations between transport companies and unions have deadlocked. Employers are offering a 7.5% increase, while unions want 12%.