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BRT: Muni and taxi operators come to party

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Phase 1A of the city’s Integrated Rapid Public Transport System (IRPTS), Leeto la Polokwane is ready to be launched and during a special council meeting on Friday, council approved R1,4 million per taxi operator as compensation for surrendering their vehicles and operator’s licences to the municipality.
This follows extensive negotiations between the municipality and the relevant taxi associations that were necessitated by the fact that the bus service will be replacing the operations of some identified taxi operators on the same routes.
One of the principles of the system is that another operator should not operate in competition with the IRPTS and that existing operators should be compensated for loss of income.
Members of the Seshego Polokwane Taxi Association will surrender 95 taxis, while the Westenburg Taxi Association and the Flora Park Taxi Association will respectively remove six and 24 vehicles from the system.
The taxi operators will be required to enter into trade restraint agreements with the municipality that will inter alia cover the removal of the taxis from the system and buy out compensation.
The total amount of compensation to the 125 identified taxi operators is R175 million and each operator will receive R1,241 million upon surrendering their vehicles and operator’s licences and signing of the required agreements and the balance will be paid out after the vehicles have been salvaged by the municipality. The IRPTS is financed from a grant received from the National Department of Transport and will not have a direct effect on the city’s rate payers.
The buses have been delivered towards the end of last year and bus lanes and stations were constructed. The operational headquarters will be based at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium and Municipal Manager Dikgape Makobe was tasked to determine a date for the launch of the first phase of Leeto la Polokwane in consultation with the Department of Transport.

Story & Photo: Barry Viljoen
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