Taxi fare increase on the cards as Santaco butts heads with associations

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

Since the lockdown, taxis could only be filled to 70% capacity as a measure to curb the spread of the pandemic.

While commuters received some good news on Tuesday that the Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) had reconsidered their initial decision for a 172% increase on taxi fares, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has indicated a looming increase in the works as representatives met this week to deliberate on proposed increments.

Initial reports of a massive protest on June 22 remain unconfirmed by Santaco which is in talks with ATA allegedly until Thursday on fare increments, a result which according to the council was due to the lack of support for the informal sector as the economy reels from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press briefing scheduled for 1pm on Wednesday, Santaco intends to outline their position on current negotiations with government as well as their position in relation to lockdown regulations.

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Since the lockdown, taxis could only be filled to 70% capacity as a measure to curb the spread of the pandemic. This has led to an undesired domino effect as taxis were now forced to share routes as a measure to allow other operators an equal share of the market.

Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa, while indicating the challenges that the industry was faced with said operators were considering alternative options as operators struggled to make ends meet.

Santaco plans to highlight their desired way forward since government has remained mum on providing relief to their sector.

It is likely that Santaco may withdraw from some initial agreements made with government as Santaco president Philip Taaibosch is set to announce national’s decision on the compensation fund, promised by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Insiders expect an announcement by Santaco on Friday on the agreed-upon increments.

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