Bus plan likely to swallow taxi jobs

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The Department of Transport wants to rev up facilities for the 2010 Fifa World Cup with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, but taxi associations aren't impressed.

And they are threatening to take to the streets in protest.

"We are 100 percent anti-BRT," Joe Mophuthing, of the Gauteng Taxi Industry Public Relations Officer's Forum (Gatiprof), said at the weekend.

"Where are we supposed to work? The programme is going to see a huge number of taxi operators out of work. It will affect old women who are selling at taxi ranks and along the streets. It will affect the young men who wash taxis. It is going to worsen things."

The department unveiled its Rea Vaya BRT project last month, but Mophuthing said: "We were not consulted . It needed to be properly unpacked to us so that we would understand how it will work."

Mophuthing said the government slogan read: "Together creating work and eradicating poverty".

"But they are taking the one thing we are surviving on - the taxi business

"South Africans can forget about ever finding jobs.

"The government is not empowering South Africans in any way."

The BRT aims to cut traffic congestion by introducing a network of new buses travelling along dedicated bus routes around Johannesburg, with bus stations every 500 metres on specific lanes.

The first phase of the system is 48km long in Johannesburg and on the N17 that links Soweto and Nasrec with the northern suburbs, according to Minister Jeff Radebe's budget speech.