The war at the Tonota Bus Rank seems to have intensified as the public transport operators in Tonota Village have taken the conflict to the Minister of Communications, Roads and Transport, Frank Ramsden, to resolve. Information reaching The Telegraph is that the on-going battle between the taxi operators and the bus operators over customers has led to the Tonota Transport Association inviting the Minister to resolve the issue last week.
Ever since the Tonota bus rank started operations in April this year, there has been bad blood between bus operators and taxi operators over customers, causing some bus owners to break transport regulations.
Some of the owners are being accused of working hand-in-hand with corrupt Transport officials in Francistown.
“The problem we are facing here with this bus rank is that there are certain individuals who own buses,” said one bus owner. “They do not follow transport regulations as they are covered by corrupt transport officials with whom they connive.”
A source within the bus operators also told the Telegraph that they have decided to take the matter to Minister Frank Ramsden for some sort of arbitration because the issue has been pending for too long with no solution ever reached. He added that he wonders what kind of permits this transport owners use because they continue to violate the transport regulations with the transport officials seemingly looking the other way.
“Instead of the buses waiting for customers in the bus rank, they proceed into the village where they take customers and the local taxi operators are suffering because they are losing customers to the buses,” remarked a member of the Transport Association who preferred to stay anonymous.
The transport operators also indicated that they have long placed their queries with the Transport Department in Francistown, but up to now the officers in the department are not making any effort to make sure that the regulations are followed and to keep a close eye on those who violate the regulations.
“We resorted to going to the Minister’s office to seek intervention because we make a living out of our transport business and this conflict is affecting our source of income. It was promised to solve the issue by Friday,” remarked one of the bus operators.
Efforts to reach the head of the Transport Department in Francistown proved futile as he was said to be out of the office.