Taxi trou­bles

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE minibus they COM­MONLY are not taxi all driv­ers crooks, held prej­u­dices are thugs of­ten or ter­ri­ble against un­fair: They do driv­ers. of­fer a ser­vice to hun­dreds of thou­sands of coun­try Cape – Town which com­muters our shame­fully – mil­lions ne­glected across pub­lic the trans­port The ser­vice has not is of­ten been able safer to than pro­vide. the al­ter­na­tives: many fer to com­muters use taxis than in this trains, city will par­tic­u­larly tell you they dur­ing pre-week­ends.

This week, how­ever, this news­pa­per and the Cape Ar­gus have re­ported on two shock­ing in­ci­dents in­volv­ing bel­liger­ent taxi driv­ers. In one, a man’s car was de­lib­er­ately dam­aged when he an­noyed some driv­ers, and in the other a po­lice­man was dragged along the road.

Un­for­tu­nately th­ese in­ci­dents of law­less­ness are not iso­lated. Po­lice have warned that it is not un­com­mon for taxi driv­ers to work in con­cert against other road users. And just about any com­muter will have anec­dotes about un­pleas­ant en­coun­ters with ag­gres­sive taxi driv­ers.

Coun­cil­lor JP Smith, ever the hawk, has said the city is about to in­tro­duce a new by­law with “more teeth” to deal with bad taxi driv­ers.

Com­muters might re­spond with scep­ti­cism. They will ask why the rules and reg­u­la­tions that ap­ply to the taxi in­dus­try are not be­ing ap­plied.

They will also point out that it is 15 years since steps were first taken to reg­u­late the in­dus­try. In­stead, the hold on this seg­ment of our econ­omy con­tin­ues to be the do­main of a net­work of ruth­less op­er­a­tors who are ap­par­ently not ac­count­able to any au­thor­ity.

Smith’s ini­tia­tive will not suc­ceed without a gen­uine com­mit­ment from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to

tackle this ap­par­ently in­tractable prob­lem.

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