Commuters hit hard by taxi strike

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Commuters were left stranded on Wednesday morning because there was no public transportation to ferry them to work.

The public transport operators kicked off their nationwide strike that is planned to last for a week.

There were no taxis or buses on all roads leading to Maseru city centre while people were seen clustered on all major pick up points.

Textile factory workers who had waited for transport in vain since 6:00am were also seen going back home, dejected. Other workers were seen walking into town. All major taxi and bus ranks in Maseru were empty, except for a few street vendors.

Taxi operators have embarked on the strike in protest at the mobile traffic court which they accuse of ‘extorting’ them with heavy-handed fines for minor traffic offences. The strike went ahead even though the authorities announced that the court will temporarily halt operations to make way for negotiations.

The ministry of transport, on the other hand, responded by inviting private vehicle owners to provide transportation to the public for the duration of the strike.

This appears to have been an exercise in futility as no such vehicles were visible. In some places, there have been reports of scuffles between taxi operators and vehicle owners who attempted to pick up passengers.

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