Commuters threaten shutdown of Joburg CBD
Jobs lost because Metrobuses don’t arrive on time
METROBUS commuters are threatening to bring Joburg’s central business district to a standstill if the bus company does not respond to their grievance by tomorrow.
This follows a partial shutdown of Gandhi Square yesterday morning.
Angry commuters halted bus operations to force Metrobus management to improve their services. Passengers claimed to have been queuing in the bitter cold for buses that seldom arrive on time.
Fifty-year-old Zulu Mabaso told The Star that he had been using the buses for more than a year and found the service deplorable.
“We wait in the queue for hours for a bus that never arrives on time, if it comes at all. And it’s a rip-off, because we budget for the bus, only to be forced to use taxis,” he pointed out.
Mabaso, who works in Sandton, said he can’t afford to get written warnings from his employer at his age.
Ntombi Radebe, 67, said she had been using the bus service for many years but had never experienced such incompetence.
“I have been using these buses dating back to apartheid. These buses are run by our own people, but things have just deteriorated,” she said.
More than 50 commuters protested, saying the buses arrive late, which had cost a number of people their jobs.
They’ve accused Metrobus management of “daylight robbery” as there are days when the buses don’t even pitch up.
The acting managing director of Metrobus, Tshepo Makola, was escorted by police officers when he addressed the angry commuters.
He said he had been receiving emails daily with their grievances, but pointed out that their biggest challenge was the availability of buses.
Said Makola: “We take our commuters very seriously, because if we don’t, we will be out of business.
“The changes in shifts that were implemented in February was to pilot the new routes after the city conducted an assessment in 2013. It was one of the turnaround plans that had to be implemented,” he said.
“Around 60% of our fleet is 17 years old, and that is our big challenge.”
Makola pledged to report back on their progress, after his meeting with the mayoral committee today.
Commuter Nonhlanhla Maringa said: “We heard what Tshepo had to say; we are glad he was able to come and address us, because that’s what we wanted.”
INCENSED: Metrobus commuters protested at Gandhi Square yesterday over deplorable services.