satawu thumb medium90 101The Star reports that the mayors of Johannesburg, Tshwane and eThekwini, along with transport unions, have called on the government to provide reliable operational subsidies to public transport networks.

This forms part of a campaign called The Future is Public Transport, which aims to highlight the importance of public transport to Covid-19 recovery within cities. SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson Solomon Mahlangu said on Tuesday: “The national government must provide a subsidy to make our public transport system integrated, safe, sustainable and resilient to future crises. Essential workers are not just doctors and nurses. Public transport workers deserve secure formal jobs with decent terms and conditions.” The mayors and Satawu noted in a joint statement that while subsidies to the SA bus and train network existed, recent reports suggested that these modes of transport only accounted for 23.6% and 9.9% of commuted transport respectively. Meantime, the minibus taxi industry, which was responsible for 66.6% of commuter travel, did not receive an operational subsidy. In their view, the introduction of a reliable and consistent operational subsidy would lay the groundwork for safer Covid-19 measures to protect operators and commuters; a more affordable transport system through centralised fare collections integrating costs across multiple trips; as well as generating decent jobs for informal and formal workers. The mayors added that inaction posed risks to the livelihoods of about 650,000 drivers, marshals and informal traders who faced unemployment from the impact of Covid-19 on public transport systems.

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