Commuters hit with taxi fare increase

Gauteng taxi operators have hiked their prices, they say in efforts to make up for government regulations limiting the number of passengers they are allowed to transport. Courtesy of #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - There is anger over drastic hikes in taxi fares on some Gauteng routes, some operators said to be almost doubling their prices.

Operators say this is because of regulations that allow them to carry only 70 percent of their capacity.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says while he empathises with the sector, it needs to be mindful of the plight of the poor.

READ: Lockdown level 3: Taxis back on the road full-time

Taxi drivers are reportedly responding to fuel price increases, and a harsh economic climate exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic means many have not been able to pay instalments on their vehicles

Drivers at taxi ranks have previously raised concerns that they feel forgotten by government.

Transport Ministry spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine said the minister respects the independence and autonomy of the taxi industry and sympathises with the current plight of operators.

She said the department said a price increase may be warranted to mitigate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the taxi industry, but the increase must be fair to customers and be mindful of the poor.

There is anger over drastic hikes in taxi fares on some Gauteng routes. Ayanda Allie Paine, Transport ministry spokesperson and the National Taxi Alliance's Theo Malele commented further. Courtesy of #DStv403

Paine said if the situation cannot be resolved amicably, the ministry will be compelled to recommend the case to the Competition Commission.

She said the minister would be engaging with taxi associations to resolve the issues.

The National Taxi Alliance's Theo Malele said two associations have decided to increase their prices and NTA was not consulted on the 172 percent fare increase.

READ: Level 3: What now for public transport?

Malele said he would like to see the reasoning behind the price increase.

Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said earlier this year that there are issues around financing the repayment of taxis, payment of drivers and queue marshals.

At that time, Mbalula announced the government would be assisting taxi operators with masks and sanitising equipment, even after the lockdown has been lifted.

Taxi operators have said that some have not been provided with this equipment.


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