'A firm stand must be taken against Putco'

Prasa says Putco can’t do as it pleases after the bus operator cancelled routes in some areas.

FILE: Last week the bus operator cancelled eight government contracts that saw the termination of its services on several routes in the province. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana says a firm stance should be taken against Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) for pulling out of selected contracts with governments.

Last week the bus operator cancelled eight government contracts that saw the termination of its services on several routes in the province.

Since then attempts to introduce Prasa owned bus operator Autopax have been met with violent resistance by taxi drivers in Mamelodi.

Police have been sent to the Pretoria east township to escort buses targeted by disgruntled taxi operators.

Montana says Putco can't do as it pleases.

"You can't pick and choose. You can only have a slice of the cake, not all of it. Autopax and even the taxi industry cannot run at a loss."

WATCH: Mamelodi bus commuters left stranded

TAXI DRIVERS URGED TO AVOID VIOLENCE

The Gauteng government on Sunday urged taxi drivers in Mamelodi to avoid violence in order for negotiations over bus routes to resume.

This week officials have been working to quell tensions related to public transport disputes in the township.

Following the implementation of new bus operator Autopax, taxi drivers have attempted to block buses from operating pelting many of them with rocks.

Taxi operators are demanding to know why they were overlooked for a chance to take over bus routes no longer serviced by Putco.

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa warned taxi drivers that government will be less likely to negotiate with them if they continue with violence.

"The message that needs to be conveyed is that they are weakening their case through this kind of conduct."

Representatives from Mamelodi taxi associations claimed they were promised a stake in bus routes once Putco left Mamelodi.

Ramokgopa said taxi operators will be integrated into the city's plans to roll out its BRT system 'A re Yeng' in the township.

However the Mayor also called on taxi drivers to allow government's three month contract with Autopax to take effect, as introducing the BRT system will take time.