Commuters bear the brunt as bus strike gets underway

Many Cape Town commuters who rely on the Golden Arrow Bus Service are understandably upset about the strike.

The Bellville bus terminus in Cape Town. Picture: Graig-Lee Smith/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Many of Cape Town’s over 300,000 bus commuters will have to rely on other forms of public transport for the foreseeable future.

Bus drivers across the country are hanging up their keys from Wednesday in a strike.

A deadlock in wage talks led to the indefinite industrial action.

Many Cape Town commuters who rely on the Golden Arrow Bus Service are understandably upset about the strike.

For many, the bus is the most convenient mode of transport when it comes to affordability and reliability compared to taxis or trains. For others, it's the only option they have.

One commuter says she prefers taking the bus.

“It’s much more reliable and cheaper than the taxi.”

Another commuter says she’s disappointed and doesn’t have a backup plan.

“I’m unhappy. We don’t have a plan B.”

MyCiTi and GoGeorge bus services are also suspended as a result of the strike.

The City of Cape Town says commuters with monthly MyCiTi tickets will have their monthly packages extended equal to the number of days the strike lasts.

But those commuters hoping to use their bus tickets for free train rides will be disappointed as Metrorail says they'll have to pay for train tickets.

Many school pupils will also be affected by the strike.

The Western Cape Education MEC’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver says officials will be engaging with schools.

“We deal with it on a case-by-case basis. Catch up programmes will be instituted for learners who are either late or are not able to attend school at all.”

With buses off the roads, many will turn to taxis and queues at many taxi ranks are already growing.

The early morning rush is in full swing at the Mitchells Plain taxi rank.

Commuters say there is a definite increase in numbers this morning.

“It affects the money we have because we need to pay for taxis. I have to use money I didn’t budget for.”

Another adds: “This strike has caused chaos, as you can see. The lines are long.”

This resident had to make alternative travel arrangements for his daughter when they saw the long queues.

“You’ll stand in the queue; we’ll have to make an alternative. My daughter will get a lift to school with a friend.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)