New lease of life for taxis
AN INCENTIVE programme to get the city’s taxi industry to shake off its bad image was launched yesterday.
The launch of the programme “uMoja Cruise”, at the Durban Exhibition Centre, included the performance of a musical that charted the history of the taxi industry and demonstrated how the industry could benefit from being part of the programme.
The programme, which is being run by eThekwini Municipality with assistance from GO! Durban and taxi industry leadership, aims to support mini-bus taxi operators and associations to improve their business operations and services to the city’s commuters.
The launch was planned to coincide with the penultimate day of National Transport Month.
Speaking to The Mercury, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said the project was aimed at minimising the number of taxi crashes in the province and to promote good driving.
She said taxi owners could voluntarily join the programme.
“This programme will assist taxi owners to reduce road accidents, as well as to improve their industry especially if their taxis are clean and they value their customers. The industry will grow and will cease to be seen as an unruly, disorganised industry.
“Looking at the attendance we had today, all the regions within eThekwini, West, North, South Central, were present, meaning they are also keen for this programme to be rolled out.”
She said the city wanted to work with the taxi industry.
“Issuing fines or tickets should be the last option, what’s important is that they know and understand what the municipality expects of them, because there’s a lot that they do purely because they’re not clear on the by-laws and legislations.”
Gumede explained that commuters could use community halls and libraries, which now have free wifi, to log into the uMoja Cruise system and vote, comment and nominate the best driver or mini-bus taxi.
Taxi owners will then accumulate or lose points on the system according to the rating by commuters and can use accumulated points to receive discounts at selected service providers.
However the DA’s Zwakele Mncwango said the programme was a waste of ratepayers’ money.
“What the municipality is failing to do is to address the problems faced by the taxi industry and passing by-laws that are applicable and suitable for them.
“For example a taxi transporting commuters from the market to Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road, there is no official taxi stop where a taxi can pick-up or drop off commuters.
“Why doesn’t the municipality look into this so that taxis can have legitimate points to pick up and drop off commuters?”
Actors perform in a musical depicting all the negative features of the taxi industry that the city wants to change at the launch of an iIncentive programme for the city’s minibus taxi industry at the Durban Exhibition Centre yesterday.