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Metro police escort Autopax buses in Mamelodi

The Gauteng Transport MEC assured commuters there shouldn't be any disruptions today.

FILE: Commuters were stranded in Mamelodi as taxi drivers didn’t allow Autopax buses to operate in the area on 1 July 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Metro police in Tshwane are escorting Autopax buses out of the Mamelodi depot this morning as the transport service begins its second day operating routes cancelled by Putco.

Autopax will be running cancelled Putco routes in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Sedibeng for the next three months after Putco cited these routes as being unsustainable.

Autopax CEO Nathi Khena says they're grateful to police and so far about 19 out of their 63 buses are out on the roads.

"They've assisted a great deal in escorting our buses. We're monitoring the situation as the day goes by. We hope that sense will prevail and we can all coexist in serving commuters."

Police are also on standby following a tense three-way standoff between taxi drivers, bus drivers and commuters arguing over control of the routes.

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi has assured commuters there shouldn't be any disruptions after meeting with local taxi associations yesterday.

"We've assured commuters and confirmed with the taxi associations that it's just an interim contract which will last for three months."

[WATCH]: Mamelodi bus commuters left stranded.

Vadi says among the decisions taken are a proposal to the provincial department for a solution.

"The City of Tshwane will submit its proposal to the provincial department for consideration on how to integrate bus operators and taxi operators in and around Mamelodi."

But Mzamo Dube, who represents taxi drivers, says it's just not possible for buses and taxis to operate in the area.

"And suddenly without any notice or warning here come the buses which we were told cannot operate in this area. Hence, Putco indicated that it has experienced losses here."

Dube said government promised they would control the routes in Mamelodi after Putco pulled out.

"We've been given the promise that we will be empowered. We took a workshop of familiarising ourselves with the ticketing system."

As of yesterday, Putco no longer services selected routes in the Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng municipalities.

Government signed a three-month contract with AutoPax to service Putco's routes in the three municipalities.


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