Bus services all over South Africa will grind to a halt on Wednesday morning. File photo: Itumeleng English / INLSA

Cape Town - Life is about to get more complicated for commuters who rely on buses to get to work, with a nationwide bus-drivers’ strike set to begin on Wednesday.

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron has warned that, as a result of deadlocked wage negotiations, the unions who are party to the South African Road Passengers Bargaining Council have given notice of their intention to start a nationwide strike affecting the entire South African bus industry from midnight on Tuesday 17 April 2018, until further notice.

What that means for Capetonians is that the vehicle operating companies that run the MyCiti bus service will be going on lock-out from midnight on Tuesday, and there will be no MyCiti buses from Wednesday morning onwards until further notice.

Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer says negotiations are still taking place and the company remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached. But if the strike goes ahead, Golden Arrow will also institute a lock-out from Wednesday morning, leaving Cape Town entirely without formal bus service.

Cape Town's Golden Arrow will also suspend services. File photo: Neil Baynes / INLSA

Herron called on commuters to make alternative arrangements but acknowledged that there is likely to be a serious knock-on effect on road traffic volumes. Cape Town’s  commuters are already taking strain due to Metrorail’s problems on the Central line, so it’s likely most bus passengers will either opt for minibus taxis or use their own vehicles to get to work.

“I am therefore asking businesses in Cape Town to consider flexible working hours, or allowing employees to work from home where possible,” Herron said.

“It will bring great relief if businesses would allow their employees to start and stop working at different times, or to work from home during the peak and then to travel to work during the off-peak hours.”

“Car-pooling could be a practical option for those living further away,” he added. “For example, neighbours who also work in the same area could drive together.” 

Nobody knows how long the strike will go on; commuters are also advised to visit the MyCiTi website, or phone the city’s 24-hour transport information centre on 0800 65 64 63.