Buses remain parked as frustrated commuters make way home

Commuters are facing a frustrating commute home on Wednesday afternoon with bus drivers on strike across the country.

FILE: Many commuters were left stranded as a national bus strike got underway on 18 April 2018. Picture: Graig-Lee Smith/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Rea Vaya says buses in Johannesburg will remain parked until its members are given a decent wage hike.

Commuters are facing a frustrating commute home on Wednesday afternoon with bus drivers on strike across the country.

Bus drivers are demanding a 12% salary increase while employers are offering 7%.

Rea Vaya's Benny Makgoga says buses will remain parked until further notice.

“The situation regarding the strike has not changed. Our busses are still not operating at the moment. We have been informed that unions representing the workers will be meeting with employers tomorrow.”

Some commuters say they've been left angry and frustrated by the failure of bus services to alert them in good time about the national strike.

Five unions are involved in the strike which has left commuters using stranded.

Some bus commuters at the Noord Taxi Rank say they're disappointed with bus services, accusing them of leaving passengers in the lurch.

Some say they only found out about the bus drivers’ strike on Wednesday morning.

A woman says she would not have wasted her money on the latest ticket had she known of the industrial action.

“But they didn’t even tell us that there is going to be a strike, had they told us, at least I wouldn’t have loaded the bus tag.”

Queues at the taxi rank have been moving as taxi drivers ferry commuters to their various destinations.

TSHWANE METRO POLICE

The Tshwane metro police say they're keeping a close eye on main transport routes through the capital city during the nationwide bus strike.

The municipality also reported minimal disruptions to the A Re Yeng bus service, with fewer than 15 drivers failing to report for duty.

The metro police's Isaac Mahamba said: “The current situation, we can say, it's relatively calm in the City of Tshwane. We’re monitoring the freeways and townships to see whether there might be any disruptions.”

GALLERY: Long queues & frustration as #BusStrike hits SA

CAPE TOWN QUEUES

Cape Town commuters who normally rely on the bus service are expecting a tough journey home.

Usually, there are throngs of buses and long queues of commuters at the Grand Parade bus terminus in Cape Town.

On Wednesday afternoon, they have been replaced by a few cars parked where the buses usually stand.

Some striking drivers and leaders affiliated to the five unions involved are milling about.

One tells Eyewitness News they will be standing there again on Thursday if they don't get what they want out of negotiations.

A different scene is playing out at the chaotic Cape Town Station Taxi Rank where hundreds of impatient passengers are standing in dozens of seemingly endless queues.

Commuters, who normally take the bus, aren't happy about the long wait and the extra cash they need to fork out.

“I've asked to be released early from work because of the queue at the taxi rank,” one said.

Another commuter added that: “By now we should be home already.”

Wage negotiations are expected to resume on Thursday with the help of the CCMA, but the strike will continue.

Meanwhile, unions have met with bus drivers on Wednesday afternoon to discuss plans to intensify the industrial action.

AFFECTED BUS SERVICES

  • Gautrain in Gauteng

  • Putco in Gauteng

  • ReaVaya in Johannesburg

  • Areyeng in Tshwane

  • Great North Transport in Limpopo

  • Algoa Bus Company in Port Elizabeth

  • SMT in Pietermaritzburg

  • MyCiTi in Cape Town

  • Golden Arrow in Cape Town

  • GoGeorge in George

  • Bus services operating as normal

  • Metrobus in Johannesburg

  • Tshwane Bus Service

  • Transnat in Durban

  • Ikhwezi in Richard's Bay