WATCH: Durban private bus operators protest as lockdown take its toll on the industry
Durban - The Private Passenger Charter Association hit the streets of Durban in a “slow drive” bus protest on Wednesday to demand that the government refund millions of rands in operators’ license fees as they have not been able to operate during lockdown.
PPCA chairperson Fiona Brooke-Leggatt said the protest was to highlight the plight of private bus operators, many who service the tourism sector as well as corporates and schools, who had been able to work for the past five months.
Dozens of buses covered with slogans such as “Open up Tourism,” “No Food,” and “Save our Jobs” gathered at Kings Park swimming pool and made their way through the CBD before heading to Umhlanga.
Brooke-Leggatt handed a memorandum highlighting the challenges faced by the industry to DA spokesperson for Transport Sharon Hoosen who will deliver it to the KZN Legislature as well as MEC for Transport, Bheki Ntuli and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Leggat said the sector wanted the government to treat it the same as it had others in the transport industry, such as minibus taxis which had received support of R1,135 billion.
She said operators also wanted a refund of their bus license fees which are paid up front every six months at a cost of around R50 000 per bus because their buses had not been able to use the roads.
She said the refunds would help to save bus operator’s businesses, many of which were small family owned firms, while they remained shut during lockdown.
The association has also drafted a petition demanding the license fee refunds which it has called on operators and the public to sign.