Pretoria News 17 June 2020

Pretoria – The SA Travellers’ Safety Association has expressed its disappointment with the looming taxi fare increments likely to hit commuters hard in the pockets.

This followed an announcement by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) that taxi associations resolved to hike the fares with effect from July 1.

Different taxi structures would exercise their own discretion on the introduction of increases, according to Santaco. However, an increase of R4 to R5 has been proposed for local trips.

Metro to metro trips such as Pretoria to Joburg will increase by a maximum of R7, with cross-provincial border trips increasing by R50.

Secretary of the association Apson Makaung said proposals to increase taxi fare with astronomical percentages would impact negatively on workers using public transport.

He said: “The taxi industry announced the intention to increase the fare, and that has potential to inject the level of the trauma to the poor and the workers who face willy-nilly conditions to use taxis as the only mode of transport to school and workplaces.”

His criticism was made despite the recent assurance by Santaco that it harboured no plan to implement hefty taxi fares increases in Tshwane.

Santaco said it was engaged in talks “about increases but there won’t be any such high increases here”.

It was believed the Joburg taxi associations intended to increase fares by up to 200% – the decision which stirred anger among commuters.

In Tshwane, commuters recently expressed relief that the taxi industry would be more considerate before it could increase the fares.

Makaung criticised the government for suspending Metrorail while it had allowed the Gautrain to operate, saying the decision benefited only “the middle strata, if not the nobility”.

The government previously indicated that Metrorail would resume operation on July 1.

Makaung said his association supported grievances by the taxi industry to demand financial support from the government after it enforced the regulation stipulating that the capacity of passengers in public transport must not exceed 70%.

Santaco has reportedly rejected the government’s R1 billion bailout to make up for profits lost during the lockdown.

Makaung, however, slammed the taxi industry for using its anger towards the government against the working class, who relied on taxis to commute.

“We, therefore, call upon the taxi industry and the government to settle their differences for the soul of national interest. If the political leadership of the government is genuine, and avoids being labelled as demagogue, they will have to provide what they have promised to the taxi industry,” he said.

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