LIMPOPO – Protesting drivers from the Tshitale Taxi Association blocked the access road to the area and local businesses to prevent Phadziri buses from operating.
Commuters, who have become collateral damage in this dispute, had no choice but to travel great distances to catch alternative transport to get to work or shop. Tshitale Taxi association’s public relations officer, David Mulaudzi, said the association was worried that “Phadziri Bus Services were starting to operate like taxis.”
“These buses do not adhere to the authorized timetables in which they are supposed to operate, but transport commuters at any time of the day.”
Mulaudzi said they met Phadziri management last year and agreed that they (Phadziri) would not operate in that area. “For 15 years, Do Light Transport has been operating in this area. Now Phadziri Bus Services has returned without our consent,” he said.
He apologized to commuters for what happened and said they would resolve the issue with the bus companies. However, Left Mambirisa of Phadziri Bus Services denied any agreement between Phadziri and the Tshitale Taxi Association that they (Phadziri) would not operate in the area. Mambirisa said they were “fed up and fed up” with the taxi association’s bullying tactics.
“We are not operating illegally; we have obtained permits to operate from Louis Trichardt Mulima in Soekmekaar at scheduled times,” he said.
A local commuter, Maria Mudzielwana, said most commuters prefer buses to taxis because they are safer.
“What the industry fails to realize is that these fights affect us more than they affect taxi operators.
“We are caught in the middle of a conflict that has nothing to do with us,” she said.