Happy days back for Rea Vaya users

SOME regular users of Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transist were yesterday relieved that the buses were back in operation.

The commuters said they were inconvenienced by the strike by drivers which lasted ten weeks and a cost the company about R25 million.

BRT operations resumed on Tuesday after Piotrans, which employs the drivers, and the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) signed a deal to end the strike.

The action had left about 40 000 commuters between Soweto and Johannesburg stranded since August 1.

University of Johannesburg student Mpho Itshegetseng of Foxlake, Soweto, said travelling with BRT saved her money and time.

"I catch the Rea Vaya bus in Thokoza Park station. It cost me R7,50 to get to Johannesburg. With a taxi, I had to go to Bara and get another taxi that would take me to Johannesburg, with the total cost of up to R15," she said.

Ludwe Ngqolowa of Pimville said: "I am very happy that Rea Vaya is back. It makes travelling convenient. It is cheaper and faster."

Some stations, such as Library Gardens East-bound and Carlton East-bound were not opened yesterday.

Piotrans runs the BRT service on behalf of the City of Johannesburg.

The City and Cosatu had to intervene to help Piotrans and Samwu reach agreement.

The parties agreed on:

* Basic salary of R6 500;

* R1 500 once off payment;

* Piotrans to contribute 10 percent towards workers' provident fund;

* Performance bonuses valued up to R600 and;

* Voluntary medical aid in which the company and employees would contribute 50 percent each.

Shops stewards said they returned to work because they felt sorry for the stranded commuters.

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