South Africa 6.2.2018 05:00 am

Rage at taxi no-go zone

Commuters protest inconvenience and the reduction of transport options.

Hammanskraal taxi commuters are enraged at the City of Tshwane for barring taxis from entering the CBD and “forcing” passengers to use the A Re Yeng bus service instead.

Scores of commuters and taxi drivers brought the city to a standstill at noon yesterday, with taxis blocking major intersections, as they marched to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum of grievances to the member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for transport.

Pedestrians are seen making their way through the taxis blocking the roads in Pretoria CBD by protesting Taxi drivers and commuters from Hammanskraal during their march to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum demanding that taxi's should be allowed to drive to the CBD, 5 February 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Pedestrians are seen making their way through the taxis blocking the roads in Pretoria CBD by protesting Taxi drivers and commuters from Hammanskraal during their march to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum demanding that taxi’s should be allowed to drive to the CBD, 5 February 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The march was sparked by the “drop-off agreement” between the city and Hammanskraal Taxi Organisation (Hato), Stinkwater Eersterust Taxi Association (Seta) and Ga-Mokone Hammanskraal Stinkwater Taxi Association.

According to the agreement made last year, these three taxi associations would no longer travel into the CBD from their starting point.

Instead, passengers would be dropped off at Wonderboom Junction to board A Re Yeng buses into the city. But march organiser and commuter Elizabeth Maseko said this was inconvenient and it had not been discussed with communities and commuters.

“We heard that the taxi owners were given money during this agreement. But nothing was communicated to us as the community. We were told nothing but are forced to use the buses. We need to have freedom of choice.”

Despite the city offering single fare trips at only R8, Maseko said the new transport system was an “added expense”.

“We use local taxis, which cost R10. Then a taxi to Wonderboom is R17 plus the additional R8 that we must pay for A Re Yeng. Our other issues are that the station in Wonderboom Junction doesn’t have enough shelter, no sanitation at all, and we constantly have to keep changing transport. “According to the bus timetable, on Sundays and public holidays, the bus service ends at 6.30pm. Therefore, we are held hostage by these buses, whereas you can normally find a taxi even at 9pm. But now people are stranded,” Maseko said.

Protesting Taxi drivers and commuters from Hammanskraal are seen approaching during their march to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum demanding that taxi's should be allowed to drive to the CBD, 5 February 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Protesting Taxi drivers and commuters from Hammanskraal are seen approaching during their march to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum demanding that taxi’s should be allowed to drive to the CBD, 5 February 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

MMC Michael Mkhari accepted the memorandum, saying the new transport arrangement was to ease congestion in the city.

“This is part of the city’s rejuvenation programme to clean up the city and to make sure we find space for taxis by reducing congestion in the city. There is no extra cost. Transport cost is now reduced. This will only make life easier. I will take this memorandum and we will look at all demands and respond accordingly,” he said.

– rorisangk@citizen.co.za

Tshwane braces for taxi strike on Wednesday

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.

 

today in print