Tue Oct 25 12:09:29 SAST 2016
Former Wits SRC President Mcebo Dlamini. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Reports that Dlamini on hunger strike false

Correctional Services spokesman Manelisi Wolela has denied allegations that student leader Mcebo Dla.

'Fare increase will cripple commuters'

By unknown | Jul 02, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sibongile Mashaba and Tokoloho Thoahlane

Sibongile Mashaba and Tokoloho Thoahlane

Johannesburg Metrobus commuters have vowed to cripple the the service and halt its operations if the company does not reconsider their new fare structure.

The company has increased fares by 40percent and cancelled free transfers and expiry dates.

"The new system is going to cripple us commuters," the South African Commuter Organisation spokesman, Beauty Mabuka, said.

"Apart from the increased fares, we are going to be required to pay separately for every bus ride on a single trip to work."

The people's anger came to the boil yesterday morning with scores invading the terminus at Gandhi Square and pulling passengers out of the buses.

They used rubbish bins to barricade streets around Gandhi square.

Some forced commuters to take taxis and vowed to continue protesting until their demands were met.

Also in Johannesburg more than 400 furniture workers downed tools and angrily protested in the streets.

In the city centre a woman in one of the buses said she was so scared because she thought "we were going to be assaulted".

Metrobus says the changes were prompted by the fact that they were losing more than R20million a year because of free transfers.

The company's general manager Jeff Ngcobo said: "About 15percent of our customers use free transfers which can be estimated at R2,5million a month.

"There were about 80 buses that were not collecting money on a daily basis.

"The fare structure was looked at and prepares us for the new transport systems. It was approved by the city council."

Ngcobo said single trip fares would now be calculated on the distance travelled.

"The protest was sparked by the amendment fare structure for 2008.

"Services were diverted for a short period of time in an attempt to avoid disruptions and prevent the situation from getting out of hand," he said.

He said the system had been "a buy one, get one free".

"People will now have to pay for each route they travel."

The commuters told Sowetan that Metrobus had increased bus fares, cancelled free transfers, giving them only two weeks to use their 52 trips in a seasonal coupon.

Johannesburg Metro police and SAPS maintained a strong presence at the Gandhi Square terminus.

Metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said no damages or injuries were reported.

Mabuka said: "We want the company to reverse its decision to cancel free transfers.

"We also want them to reconsider price hikes because 40percent is too much and people cannot afford it."

Christina Mthombeni, 35, works at a printing company and earns R1500 a month. She said she used to pay R214 for her two children's coupons and R184 on herself every month.

"With this increase I will now have to pay R670 a month for transport only.

"I'm the breadwinner and I take care of elderly parents. I must still buy groceries for two houses, pay rent and school fees."

She said her life had now become a financial nightmare.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT