No taxi fare increase (yet), but taxi bodies could rebel

Taxis blocked Modderfontein Road earlier today. Images: Bedfordview Edenvale News

Gauteng transport MEC says a decision taken at national level was that there would be no increases in taxi fares on Monday, however, some taxi organisations could defy this decision, while others have plans for later in the month

Gauteng Public Transport, Roads and Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has confirmed there will be no increases in taxi fares come Monday, but that is dependent on taxi operators playing ball with government.

The MEC, stressed that although the department had confirmed no increments would kick in on Monday from a national level, they could not rule out any defiant associations who would implement increments, on Monday, 15 June.

The Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand and Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) is in heated debates with the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) to carve a way forward as taxi operators have been battling to cope financially due to the 70% taxi capacity loads, as stipulated by government during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Taxis were now forced to share routes as a measure to allow other operators an equal share of the market. This has greatly reduced the income of taxi drivers and owners, prompting fears of a collapse in the market.

While Mamabolo has announced there’s no intention to hike taxi fares on Monday, it is understood that taxi fares are likely to increase in the coming weeks as operators attempt to recover financially.

Earlier on Wednesday, Santaco announced that it had withdrawn from negotiations with government on lockdown matters and fare increases. Santaco president Philip Taaibosch  was expected to clarify their stance and reasons for withdrawal at a media briefing later in the day, but that did not happen.

Armsta’s intention to hike taxi fares was in response to losses incurred due to government regulation for a 70% capacity on all taxi loads.

Meanwhile, Santaco in Kwazulu-Natal has announced that they have taken a decision to increase fares at the end of this month.

In a statement on their official Facebook page, the organisation said: “The SANTACO-KZN leadership took a resolution 6 years ago to raise taxi fares on 1 July annually. It was decided that all the 246 associations throughout the Province will only do this once a year regardless of the increase of petrol, motor spares or anything related with transport costs.”

They maintain that this decision was not related to the current taxi-industry struggles.

“This announcement has got nothing to do with 70% loading capacity and the lockdown problems. It is a provincial programme.”

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