All taxi fares to increase come July, Santaco says

Taxis queue outside Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg to ferry people traveling home, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe during the festive season, 20 December 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to meet again with Santaco next week for a way forward.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has confirmed a scheduled taxi fare increase, come July 1.

Spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said the organisation is aware of the looming annual increase in July and advised organisations in various provinces to direct reasonable increments, which would not cripple the poor.

Santaco has been in deliberations with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to highlight many challenges faced by the sector as a result of the pandemic.

The council has presented four issues to be considered by Mbalula, which are to review the 70% loading capacity, address the relief fund issue, review regulation on long-distance travel, and  government employing a different approach to taxis as the lockdown levels continue to be eased.

The frustrated industry has called for action from Mbalula, arguing that it had become nearly impossible for operators to survive.

“Since day one of lockdown, the taxi industry has been operating under severely constrained conditions forcing some operators to park their vehicles, yet by 1 July 2020, banks will expect every operator to pay their monthly instalments.”

Alternative ways must be sought to salvage the taxi industry as many owners face huge repossessions in the next six months.

Mbalula is expected to meet again with Santaco next week for a way forward.

Although a previous announcement to increase taxi fares never materialised, Santaco has confirmed and informed Mbalula that taxi fares will increase on July 1.

“The increase is a yearly occurrence in the taxi business to address all operational costs taxi operators will be facing. This increase is not Covid-19 related and should not be seen as solution to the financial challenges the taxi industry is presently facing.”

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