'Economic chaos may follow BRT'

While a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system sounded attractive to commuters - it was an open question whether the taxi industry would allow it to be established, bus operator Putco said yesterday.

While a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system sounded attractive to commuters - it was an open question whether the taxi industry would allow it to be established, bus operator Putco said yesterday.

Braam de Jong, Putco's operations executive, said that while government was of the view that BRT needed to be put in place to allow South Africa to break down outdated barriers, taxi operators would hold the country for ransom if was put in place.

"Protests, strikes, disruptions, violence, war and bloodshed ... would bring the economy to its knees," he said.

"Taxi operators have warned that if BRT is implemented it will cast a shadow over 2010 [the Fifa soccer world cup tournament to be held in South Africa next year]."

De Jong was speaking at a Transport Forum special interest group meeting at the University of Johannesburg - where he insisted that BRT would be compromised if taxi operators felt threatened by the new system.

He said that while the transport department had assured taxi bosses there would be no job losses, the future of the bus industry was in jeopardy.

In March, taxi drivers went on strike, protesting that BRT would put them out of work. - Sapa

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