Buses in Pretoria townships went back on the road on Monday following the violent Tshwane unrest that resulted in 19 of Autopax’s fleet being set alight by protesters last month.
Autopax, which runs City to City buses in the area, suspended services after 19 of their buses were torched during protest action following the African National Congress’s (ANC) announcement of Thoko Didiza as its Tshwane Metro’s mayoral candidate for the forthcoming local government elections.
The cost of the buses torched in Mamelodi was estimated at R30 million.
Since then, commuters who relied on buses had to make alternative plans to travel, incurring exorbitant costs in the process.
Autopax’s sales and marketing executive, Nozipho Jafta, told African News Agency (ANA) that everything went smoothly on Monday morning and the process of resuming services did not counter any problems.
Jafta said they were running a reduced service with 55 buses operating in Tshwane townships and 13 shifts having been rationalized.
It is anticipated that the full service will be rolled out by October.
Jafta dismissed talks that the buses had been taken from the company’s fleet reserved for long-distance service.
“We hope that by the end of September, things will be back to normal and we would have 75 buses operating again in the Mamelodi area,” said Jafta.
She also said that Autopax had beefed up security to ensure the safety of the commuters.
Jafta said MEC for Transport in Gauteng, Ismail Vadi, was at the Mamelodi bus depot to ensure that the service resumed as planned.
The provincial department entered into a contract with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s Autopax to render continuity of services to commuters in Mamelodi after PUTCO decided to cancel its routes in the township earlier this year.
– African News Agency (ANA)