'Metrobus ticket increases are unfair'

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Metrobus commuters are starting to feel the pinch following the company's decision to raise fares by a whopping 40 percent.

Commuters told Sowetan yesterday that it was unfair that they were required to pay so much for public transport while the cost of living continued to sky-rocket.

They said the situation was compounded by the company's decision to cancel free bus transfers too.

Edith Ramasopane, who has been a bus commuter for more than 20 years, said: "I cannot imagine how much suffering the bus fare increase is going to bring to my life. I now have to pay more than R80 for the coupon - and two tickets - to get to work. It is totally unfair."

Ramasopane commutes between Hillbrow and Southgate and has to transfer at the Gandhi Square terminus in downtown Johannesburg.

She said she was not against fare increases but 40 percent "is daylight robbery".

"We were not considered when this decision was taken," she said.

Busisiwe Mdluli said: "I used to pay R265 for a monthly ticket from Kew, Johannesburg to Gandhi Square in the CBD and then board another bus to Southgate at the same fare.

"Now I have to buy two coupons. The ticket from Kew to Gandhi Square now costs R354.

"I am definitely going back to using taxis. There won't be any huge difference but I have no choice. I resorted to using buses because I wanted to save money but this 40 percent increase is not going to make that possible for me."

South African Commuters Organisation provincial secretary Beauty Mabuka said: "People are now forced to buy two tickets because the company cancelled free transfers. The increase is too much and few people can afford it. We will continue engaging the municipality about the fares."

Metrobus MD Herman van Laar said the bus fares were actually increased by 33 percent.

"Proper procedure was followed and commuters were told in time about the increases and there were no objections. They only started complaining when they were given examples of how bus fares would change."

He said the distances travelled determined the fares.