Trans­form­ing the taxi in­dus­try

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DUR­ING his bud­get speech MEC for Trans­port in KZN Mx­olisi Kaunda was proud to an­nounce progress in con­sol­i­dat­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the taxi in­dus­try.

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue that saw sev­eral protests at taxi ranks last year, he said the depart­ment had agreed to lift the mora­to­rium on the is­suance of new op­er­at­ing li­cences and work­ing with the in­dus­try through the South African Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil (San­taco).

He warned this did not mean a free-for-all, but the process still re­quired “work­ing to re­solve long-stand­ing is­sues around li­censes, to fi­nally ar­rive at a point where ev­ery taxi on the road is op­er­at­ing legally”.

He said the depart­ment has also part­nered with San­taco to pro­vide train­ing to lead­er­ship at re­gions and as­so­ci­a­tions.

This in­cludes par­tic­i­pa­tion in the train­ing of 160 women who are taxi op­er­a­tors.

He said a fur­ther 218 taxi op­er­a­tors will ben­e­fit from this train­ing and de­vel­op­ment in the new fi­nan­cial year.

Kaunda said Trans­port’s part­ner­ship with San­taco through the coun­cil’s Hlokomela cam­paign, aims to pro­mote good cus­tomer ser­vice and taxi driver be­hav­iour.

“We be­lieve strongly that the taxi in­dus­try should grow, and this en­tails op­er­a­tors par­tic­i­pat­ing across the value chain.

“Be­yond op­er­at­ing minibus taxis, op­er­a­tors should be in­volved in areas in­clud­ing ve­hi­cle ware­hous­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion, sales and main­te­nance.

“In their own right, they should be­come man­u­fac­tur­ers of parts such as tyres, elec­tronic man­age­ment sys­tems, scrap­ping ad­min­is­tra­tion agents, pro­duce diesel, as well as ac­cess other op­por­tu­ni­ties in the value chain.

Kaunda warned the taxi op­er­a­tors should not be caught nap­ping while ride-hail­ing apps like Uber are chang­ing how peo­ple ac­cess hired trans­port.

He said the taxi in­dus­try should seek to ad­vance in tech­nol­ogy to keep up with the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion, as ev­i­denced by the dis­rup­tion caused by al­ready global services such as ride hail­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

In this re­gard, he said the trans­port depart­ment is work­ing na­tion­ally to en­sure that SA’s laws “ap­pro­pri­ately re­spond to these new services by en­sur­ing that fair com­pe­ti­tion and ad­her­ence to op­er­at­ing reg­u­la­tions”.

PHOTO: FILE

KZN’s trans­port and the SA Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil hopes to see less of this type of lawless park­ing by taxi driv­ers in the province.

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