Transport tempest revs up taxi tempers

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

A taxi tempest is brewing in Grahamstown over the introduction of buses to transport pupils in the city's townships.

Two local taxi associations, Uncedo and Border Alliance, are upset by the move.

Uncedo spokesman Thembinkosi Royi yesterday said there was no proper consultation before the introduction of the buses.

"The tender to transport pupils was won by two women from East London and they never followed proper channels," he said.

Royi said his association had no problem with two women winning the tender, but "things should be done in a proper way".

He said it was unacceptable that the women were not from Grahamstown. His association had members who qualified as service providers, he said.

"But instead they sub-contracted outsiders," he said.

Royi said they had tried to meet the two women, but they would not "cooperate". He alleged the women had saidan agreement existed between them and their sub-contractors and there was no need for a third party.

"As long as they do not cooperate with us, they will not operate here."

He said the women did not have route permits to operate in Grahamstown, but had permits to operate from Alice to Cape Town.

This infuriated local taxi operators who felt school transport was "invading" their regular routes.

Commuters were left stranded this week when taxi drivers refused to transport them in the mornings and afternoons.

The commuters, including workers and students, had to walk for about 10km to and from the CBD where they work and study.

"We resolved not to transport commuters during those times. We don't blame them, but we had to show our dissatisfaction," Royi said.

Provincial Education Department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said his department would investigate the matter.

The two women awarded the tender could not be reached for comment.