Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi. Picture: Bongani Shilubane
Johannesburg – The Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, said on Thursday that his department has had to engage taxi associations to extend their services to cater for more commuters in a bid to temporarily relieve pressure from bus commuters.

This comes as a nationwide bus strike over salaries and working conditions entered a second day Thursday, leaving commuters, especially long distance travellers, stranded across the country on the eve of the Easter holidays. Maswanganyi said the department urged all provincial departments responsible for transport to issue temporary and special operating licenses for other modes of transport, notably, the taxi industry as a temporary measure to address the peak demand.

Maswanganyi said he was concerned that labour and employers failed to reach an agreement in negotiations as led by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration , and was observing meticulously the negotiations.

"Regrettably, the prolonged strike continues to inconvenience commuters who should travel to various destinations including to religious pilgrimages during this Easter weekend," Maswanganyi said. Maswanganyi further said that the only reasonable outcome that government expects from the negotiations was the immediate resumption of bus operations, whilst labour and employers are finding a permanent solution to the impasse.

The Prasa Shosholoza Meyl increased their capacity in corridors that they are currently servicing. The routes include Johannesburg to Cape Town, Johannesburg to Durban, and Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. Maswanganyi appealed to all parties involved to find an amicable solution inspired by a common desire to make the bus industry a reliable and safe public transport mode.