MyCiti bus services traveling to Khayelitsha will remain suspended until further notice after three MyCiti buses were stoned and two Golden Arrow buses were set alight.
The two MyCiti buses were attacked en route to the Kuyasa station shortly before morning peak-hour commenced. The third MyCiti bus was stoned along the N2 freeway just before the service was suspended.
“No injuries were reported, however, at least five bus windows were smashed during these attacks,” the city said in an official statement. “The torching of two GABS buses also appears to be directly linked to the decision by the mini-bus taxi industry to withhold their services.”
City Mayco member for Transport and Urban Development, Brett Herron, said that he was very concerned when he learned of the taxi industry’s intentions to go on strike from Monday morning onwards.
“My worst fears were confirmed when reports came through about the attacks on the MyCiTi buses and the torching of two GABS buses, also near Kuyasa in Khayelitsha during the morning peak-hour period. I was also alerted to incidents of bus commuters being intimidated and being forced off buses at Kuyasa,” Herron said. “We had no alternative but to suspend the D01 and D02 routes operating in Khayelitsha at around 06:30 this morning. Unfortunately, the MyCiTi service in Khayelitsha will remain suspended until further notice as the City is obliged to take action to protect our commuters, personnel, and assets.”
He added that he condemns the violence that is associated with protest action. “It is totally unacceptable that the MyCiTi service and GABS are being targeted while we are trying our utmost to assist commuters who are left stranded as a result of the minibus-taxi industry withholding its services,” he said.
The taxi industry strike comes as a result of internal leadership issues, and it is still unclear on when these issues will be resolved.
“The challenges Metrorail is facing at the moment have displaced thousands of commuters to road-based public transport, with the minibus-taxi industry being one of the key service providers. Our commuters are the worst affected by this strike action, and either arrive late or cannot get to and from work to earn a living. To make matters worse, those commuters travelling from the Metro South-east are now also deprived of the GABS and MyCiTi bus services as we cannot operate given the risk of violent attacks,” Herron said.
The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority will continue to monitor the situation, and have warned MyCiti commuters from other areas to make alternative travel arrangements for the time being.
“I am calling on the minibus-taxi industry to resolve this impasse as soon as possible. We also need their leaders to take a strong stand against violence, and to send a clear message that they are opposing the attacks on other public transport service providers,” said Herron.
Commuters can visit the MyCiTi website on www.myciti.org.za for regular updates about the service.