FRANCISTOWN – Students in Francistown are the worst affected by the recent changes in public transport routes; a change which saw taxis and combis not going through the bus rank as has always been the case.
Francistown Senior Secondary School and Mater Spei College students have expressed misgivings at the recent route changes saying that they are now forced to pay double what they used to pay in the past just to reach school.
Last week Wednesday traffic officers informed taxi operators who travel from areas such as Blocks, Selepa and Donga that they are not allowed to transport commuters past the bus rank and onto the industrial areas.
Officers said permits clearly stipulate the bus rank as the final destination.
To most taxi operators and commuters in Francistown it has always been a norm for them to by-pass the taxi rank and drop off their passengers closer to their work places, the city center and the industrial site included, so long as the 8 o’ clock deadline had not passed.
But on Wednesday students and industrial site workers were left in the lurch and almost all of them arrived late at work as the normal practice came to an abrupt end.
Francistown Taxi association’s Chengeta Chengeta says that though their permits clearly state the bus rank as their destination, taxi operators in Francistown have always been flexible as to proceed to drop commuters off at the industrial route out of kindness.
Chengeta added that the Department of Road Transport and Safety has not yet issued anyone with a permit to ply the industrial site route. Chengeta said that the unfortunate changes were implemented after taxi operators who ply the Bluetown and Area-S routes, which pass through the industrial area, raised complaints that others were stealing their customers by dropping them off at the industrial site.
Inspector Marutha Jersey of Kutlwano Police Station told Sunday Standard that taxi operators who have always proceeded to the industrial site were breaking the law as they were plying a route which they had not been allocated.
But it is the students who are the worst affected by the changes.
“Everyone knows that it is almost impossible to find a taxi at the bus rank in the morning,” said one student, adding that most of the time they are forced to walk to school from the taxi rank.