PALAPYE: A war is brewing, albeit a cold one, between passengers and transporters in Palapye over the latter’s refusal to take passengers to their destinations due to the bad roads.
The war is now before the Palapye Sub-district Council authorities that have implored the Department of Road, Transport and Safety (DRTS) to take punitive action against public transporters who refuse to ferry passengers to their destinations as required by their permits.
The war, which has been simmering for years, has now prompted members of the public to take their complaints to the sub-district council.
Recently during a council meeting, Palapye Sub-district Council chairperson, Lesedi Phuthego called on DRTS to enforce the law on non-compliant transporters.
Phuthego stated that DRTS has given permits to a lot of taxi operators plying different routes in the village, but some of them often refuse to take passengers to their destinations.
Instead, Phuthego said the taxis prefer to use the village main road, which is already congested. The affected commuters are those living in extensions four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.
“I am calling DRTS to make spot checks and take proper action against the perpetrators,” Phuthego said. He also appealed to the taxi operators to cooperate and assist people as expected.
He said they are aware of the state of the roads in some areas of the village adding that the council is working around the clock to improve the roads.
The secretary of Palapye Taxi Association, Patrick Lorato said the problem why some transporters are refusing to ferry commuters is because of the bad roads in some areas of the village and
He said it is not their intention to not take passengers to their destinations of choice. “In the areas that people mostly complain about, the roads are in a seriously bad state and it is up to the authorities to do something about them,” Lorato said.
“Profit is low in our business and we can’t risk damaging our cars driving along those roads. The roads become bad and impassable when it is raining like now. The cost of maintaining the cars is too high. We urge people to be reasonable with us,” Lorato said.
He also blamed the planning of the village and the positioning of the bus and taxi rank for the current impasse.
He said had they been engaged in the planning of the bus and taxi rank, and if it was at a central point in the village, the current deadlock could have been avoided because the taxis could have been able to cover different routes of the entire village.
In a random interview with members of the public, one passenger said they have given up on the issue ever being resolved.
“We are concerned because at times we spend hours on the roadside. The transporters know where we stay but they pass us along the roadside the whole day. They only agree to transport you unless you pay more money,” the passenger said.