Ricochet News

Commuters pin hopes on unions' reply to bus companies

By Afikile Lugunya - May 11, 2018
Commuters pin hopes on unions' reply to bus companies

Thousands of commuters in Nelson Mandela Bay and across the nation are pinning their hopes that on an announcement scheduled for Friday afternoon in which striking unions are expected to reply to employers about a new wage offer.

Bus drivers downed tools in April after wage negotiations between unions and employer associations including Commuter Bus Employers Organisation and SA Bus Employers Association dealocked.

Since then it has been a daily struggle for commuters, who rely on the buses for their travels and often see them as affordable and safer alternatives to the notorius taxis.

As a result of the nationwide bus strike, long queues and sometimes arguments between commuters over, who joined the queue first, have become a common feature especially in the townships of Port Elizabeth during the morning rush hour.

Conversations have also changed from how bad taxi drivers drive, how fast they are because “they are after money like it is going to run away” to “these drivers are too slow we are late for work, driver speed up maan we are late”.

Taxis have also had to contend with an increase in passenger numbers.

Taxi passengers often have to wait for around ten minutes for a taxi to fill up before it can get on the road while drivers use that time to stroll around and buy breakfast or snacks. However, ever since the bus strike began, during peak hours there is no rest for taxi drivers, they drop passengers at their designated stops and have to quickly come turn around to fetch more - especially during peak hours.

There is some fear that they no longer get adequate rest between trips anymore as commuters demand they get them to their destinations fast.

Reports have also surfaced of employers giving employees warnings for being late. Thus, it is no longer uncommon to see several people in queues frantically trying to explain to their bosses that they will be coming in late.

Some said that their bosses understand the situation already, so when they come to work late the bosses appreciate that they made an effort to coem to work rather than not coming at all.

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