Egodini Terminus reopens after years, but questions linger

Commuter omnibus operators and informal traders have expressed mixed feelings about the opening of Phase One of the revamped Egodini Bus Terminus, with some stating they are underwhelmed by the work done, pointing out several overlooked issues.

The terminus opened to the public on Monday after years of being shut down for a multimillion-dollar rehabilitation project.

In 2016, the local authority entered into an agreement with Terracotta to redesign Basch Street Terminus into a multi-purpose mall under a build, operate, and transfer arrangement at an estimated cost of US$60 million.

A CITE news crew visited the terminus and spoke to drivers and vendors, who raised concerns that they want the local authority to address.

“We are happy that the terminus has been finally opened. But we have some concerns. The parking spaces for our vehicles are limited. We want to know where we will park our cars while we await our turn to load passengers. In the old terminus, there was plenty of parking space in the middle of the terminus but here the space that has been availed at the moment is very small,” said one kombi driver.   

A kombi owner, who only identified himself as Mr Ndebele said transport operators were encouraged beforehand to register their vehicles under associations so they may have ease of access to operate from the terminus. 

Ndebele said such would help to curb the continuation of illegal loading points around the CBD.  

“We were told before hand that when Egodini opens, kombis will have to be branded according to associations. However, some still have not yet adhered to that call. This will cause a continuation of illegal loading bays. And it will also create confusion and chaos,” he said.  

“Kombis that load at undesignated places will cash in more than those that will rank at Egodini. If this can be addressed, and we close illegal pick-up points, it will be a win-win situation for everyone. We were also told prior that we will be engaged and be told where our vehicles will rank, so we are still waiting for all of that.” 

Another kombi driver from 6th Avenue implored the local authority and law enforcers to grant them more time to undergo procedures and register their vehicles accordingly. 

“We are appealing that at least we get three months to put our houses in order. We need to raise money to join associations, do the necessary vehicle fitness procedures and eventually be able to rank at Egodini. It would not be fair to send us packing suddenly,” he said. 

A resident, Dumisani Ndebele, raised concern over limited space for passengers to queue while waiting for transport. 

“We know that we have a very huge population of people who use public transport. The space provided here is very little. There are no proper queuing bays like we had at the old terminus. If it rains, where will the passengers find shelter while they await their turn to board? “For all these years that this space was closed, we expected better,” Nkomo said. 

“We are also worried about the security of the people. That entrance is very long, and should people want to come and look for transport late at night it would not be entirely safe. The place is enclosed by these metal sheets, making it even more dangerous for the people. Thieves will take advantage of this. The passage also serves as both entry and exit point. This will create a lot of chaos. It is a limited space, and it will be crowded. We will have a lot of theft and robbery cases because of this.” 

A vendor, Melani Gumbo, said they were advised that they would be charged US$90 a month for their vending bays and the charge is too high for them. 

“We are very happy that the terminus has been opened finally. But we are not happy with the charges for us vendors. How can we be charged US$90 when the vending stalls everywhere else outside Egodini range around US$50? This is not fair. We cannot afford that much amount of money,” he said. 

Another vendor said: “The bays are small. Some of us have big wares, we sell clothes. Where are we going to put our mannequins? This bay reserved for two people must belong to at least one person, so that they can be able to have enough displaying space and storage space in the provided cages. US$90 would be justified if at least there could be bigger vending spaces. Outside Egodini we pay less for a 2meters by 2 meters vending stall.” 

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