It is chaos ahead of the long weekend as the strike in the bus sector continues. Thousands of long distance commuters are scrambling to find alternative transport.
This is as Transport Minister Blade Nzimande and Labour Minister Mildred Olifant met unions and employers in an effort to halt the strike.
Unions are demanding 9% in the first year and 8.5% five in the second. The employer is offering 8% and 9%, respectively.
Abandoned ticket cubicles at Park Station did not deter commuters desperate to reach their destinations. Many are hoping to get their monies back to find alternative transport.
“I have a bus ticket, but the problem is to leave. I have now come to cancel the ticket. We came here yesterday (Wednesday) for a ticket, but all the tills were closed. We are here today and still no ticket.”
AutoPax says the situation is dire.
“We are finding ourselves in a tough situation; no manpower! Alternative transport must be found,” says Autopax Chief Executive Officer Nathi Khena.
At Wanderers Taxi Rank in Johannesburg, long distance taxis are now inundated.
Xolelwa Pangwa bought her bus ticket days ago and had to make another plan to attend a funeral in Mthatha.
“I received an SMS saying the bus company will give us vouchers. I never received it, nor a refund and I had to borrow money to board this taxi.”
With the long weekend here there is added pressure at ranks like one at Wanderers, Johannesburg from where long distance passengers leave.
Numbers have more than doubled due to the bus strike.
The taxis are not complaining.
“We are expecting more people most times. We load three to four cars now. We are loading 10 cars because of the strike,” says Wanderers Taxi Rank Manager Mandla Bhobho.
As the Transport Minister met all parties, government continues to call for a speedy resolution. There is little comfort for those jostling to get to their destinations.