Taxis must be reg­u­lated

Sunday World - - Opinion -

THE taxi in­dus­try is one of the main pub­lic trans­port sys­tems in the coun­try, and as such, one would hope that the govern­ment would take a keen in­ter­est in reg­u­lat­ing and stan­dar­d­is­ing it.

But the govern­ment seems ap­a­thetic about the reg­u­la­tion and man­age­ment of the in­dus­try.

This has led to an in­dus­try that reg­u­lates it­self, rife with crime and cor­rup­tion. It’s putting com­muters’ lives at stake. Most dis­heart­en­ing is the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties as a re­sult of reck­less and neg­li­gent driv­ing.

Taxis are the pre­ferred mode of trans­port for many com­muters be­cause they can get to places oth­ers can’t, and they are avail­able at any given time.

The in­dus­try s con­tri­bu­tion to eco­nomic growth was ac­knowl- edged re­cently when an Asian minibus maker in­vited taxi as­so­ci­a­tions to the nam­ing of its new taxi fleet.

This is a sig­nif­i­cant stride to­wards the recog­ni­tion of the taxi in­dus­try s con­tri­bu­tion to the car man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, a fact that is al­ways ne­glected when we talk of the taxi in­dus­try and taxi driv­ers.

The govern­ment’s ig­no­rance of the in­dus­try is con­cern­ing, be­cause it af­fects com­muters.

The lives of many people are left in hands of an in­dus­try that is self-reg­u­lat­ing. That is a dan­ger­ous for­mula for the growth of a so­ci­ety, its sta­bil­ity and its econ­omy.

Be­sides the eco­nomic ef­fects that are suf­fered, the ne­glect of the in­dus­try means people’s health is af­fected by the state of taxi ranks. Taxi ranks are filthy, smelly, wet and poorly ven­ti­lated with poor light­ing. There are no of­fi­cers to di­rect traf­fic, es­pe­cially dur­ing peak hours, so most taxis end up block­ing nearby roads. The govern­ment’s ne­glect of taxis and taxi ranks af­fect com­muters.

The govern­ment and the taxi in­dus­try must put the lives of com­muters be­fore profit.

Phillimon Mnisi

Soweto

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