Commuters up in arms over bus fares hike

Michael Sakuneka

Michael Sakuneka

The Mathole Bus Service in Tzaneen, Limpopo, will have to face a service boycott if management fails to cancel an unexpected fare increase.

This follows on the company's decision to increase bus fares by 13 percent from the end of last month.

This is the a second fare increase the company has made since the beginning of the year. The first increase of 13 percent became effective in February.

Commuters accuse the company of increasing prices without consulting passenger forums. The buses operate on major routes from various parts of Modjadji, Tzaneen and Modjadjiskloof.

The most affected commuters are those working in major industrial areas in towns because they now have to pay double.

"We have lost hope and that is why we applied for the Great North Transport buses to replace Mathole on its current route because their prices are reasonable," said one commuter .

Disgruntled commuters told Sowetan that most of them were steadily abandoning the buses and opting for taxis as an alternative form of transport.

Commuters have vowed to disrupt the bus operation until the company takes their concerns seriously.

Two weeks ago angry commuters protested at the Tzaneen bus terminal and prevented drivers from picking up passengers in the area.

The company's director, Masilo Mojela, says they have been forced to increase fares to cope with high running costs.

He says the subsidy they get from the government is not enough to cover expenses that might keep the company running effectively.