An unexpected taxi strike has left thousands of commuters stranded in and around Johannesburg. Commuters appeal to nmotorists for lifts on Ntemi Piliso opposite the Bree taxi rank. 140512. picture: Chris Collingridge 604 667

A protest by disgruntled Johannesburg taxi operators was over by 4pm on Monday and taxis were back on the roads, the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) said.

More than 800 taxi operators marched in central Johannesburg on Monday to hand over a memorandum at the transport department in Pritchard Street.

They demanded to be allowed to use street lanes reserved for the city's bus rapid transit system (BRT).

Santaco spokesman Thabisho Molelekwa said the protest was not led by the taxi industry.

He said issues the protest aimed to highlight were issues Santaco had already raised with the transport department.

“The main issue raised by the taxi drivers on Monday was the fact that they also wanted the privilege of using the BRT lanes. They feel that they are equally providing public transport.”

Molelekwa said the taxi drivers were frustrated because of the rising petrol price and law enforcement officers removing licence discs from taxis.

This rendered them unable to operate, causing commuters to seek alternative transport to work. He said this resulted in them being habitually late.

“There are also unconfirmed reports that e-tolling is one of the issues,” Molelekwa said.

The protest left thousands of commuters stranded on Monday morning, the SABC reported.

Affected areas included many Soweto suburbs, Vosloorus on the East Rand, and the Vaal Triangle. Many commuters were unaware the protest was taking place, the broadcaster reported. - Sapa