No E3, so she walks
BY NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA
MANZINI - Ellinah Gamedze was forced to walk all the way from the Satellite Bus Rank to town and back because she could’nt afford to pay for the shuttle that operates between town and the bus rank.
The 67-year-old Gamedze, a former employee of the Manzini Nazarene Nursing College says she cannot afford the extra E3 charged by the shuttle vehicles operating between the Satellite Bus Rank and the city.
As a result, she has to walk all the way from the Satellite Bus Rank to wherever she is going when she disembarks from public transport vehicles.
In most cases, she buys her groceries at Shoprite, a shop situated at the Manzini Mall. The distance is estimated to be about half a kilometre from the Satellite Rank.
Gamedze is no longer able to walk properly after being involved in a car accident about four years ago.
Times SUNDAY visited the Satellite Bus Rank where Gamedze was found walking, on her way to board a kombi that would take her to Ngculwini where she stays.
She could not walk properly and looked tired.
On reaching the Satellite Bus Rank, she asked conductors to show her where she could get transport to take her home.
Asked why she had opted to walk other than boarding one of the shuttles arranged by the Municipal Council of Manzini, she said she could not afford the E3 charged by the shuttle.
She said the new arrangement by the council has made her hate coming to town because the Satellite Bus Rank was too far. She also complained that it was now expensive for her to go to town as she has to have at least E20 for bus fare.
"When coming to town, I normally board a kombi and pay E5.50 but now, when I reach the Satellite Bus Rank, I have to have an extra E3 to pay for the shuttle to take me to the shops," she said.
"It becomes the same case when I go back home and it becomes expensive for me. The way things are it becomes difficult to come to town."Gamedze said she was not aware of the controversy surrounding the Satellite Bus Rank up until two weeks ago when she found herself without transport to take her home.
"When I got to the town’s main bus rank, I was told that transport was only available at the Satellite Bus Rank," she said. "I walked there, only to find that there was no transport. I was then advised by some of the conductors to find alternative transport that would take me home." She said like several other stranded commuters, she then walked towards The George Hotel with the hope that she would get a lift.
"I was helped by one of the police officers I found next to the hotel, who asked one of his friends who was going to Big Bend to give me a lift," she said.
Gamedze blamed the city council, saying transport operators should have been allowed to use businessman, Moses Motsa’s land as a bus rank because it was closer to town.
"The Satellite Bus Rank is far and it is not easy to get there if you do not have enough money. Getting transport from the main bus rank was the ideal plan because the shops were near." She said had she been able to walk properly, she would not be complaining.
"The council never thought about people like us when the Satellite Bus Rank was constructed," she said. "They should find an alternative plan. We are feeling the pinch as consumers."
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