The KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Alliance says a plan to have the inner-city bus operation run by taxi operators is not yet a done deal.
Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Alliance's chairperson Eugene Hadebe said the task team had approached them in the past few weeks with a proposal to have the inner-city operation of the eThekwini Municipality Bus Service run by a taxi operators' company.
Hadebe said this proposal meant that taxi bosses from various regions would form a consortium and become an operator.
The previous eThekwini bus operator, Remant Alton, was a black economic empowerment company and was awarded the contract in 2003.
But the company closed shop last month because itcould not continue its operations.
"We have all the requirements to run a public transport like the eThekwini inner-city bus service," Hadebe said.
He said there had been talks for years to incorporate the taxi industry into the government transport system - to give the taxi operators a slice in it - but nothing had really materialised.
A cabinet team of three MECs had been working around the clock to restore the city's bus service.
The new operator, Transnat Africa, appointed by eThekwini Bus Service, will only be responsible for outer-city buses, while the inner-city commuters will be provided alternative public transport by the taxis or small bus operators.
The task team and the provincial department of transport would not say who would run the inner-city bus operation.
eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba said there were many proposals for the inner-city operator and the taxi industry r was one of the solutions.
"We are still to confirm the service provider. Now that we have completed phase one of the operation (outer-city operation by the new operator), the next one will be phase two to work on the inner-city plan.
"Both operators will run until 2010. Post-2010 our long-term plan for the inner- and outer-city bus service is to go for the Integrated Transport System, where buses, taxis and trains work together."
Meanwhile, the Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA, representing bus drivers who have not been employed by Transnat Africa, said they would continue to "fight" for the reinstatement of all workers.
The task team has settled the employment of bus drivers with the outer-city Transnat Bus Service.
But it still has to appoint an operator for the inner-city.