Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Durban - No uniform, no work - this was the ultimatum given to Durban minibus taxi drivers and conductors affiliated to the South Beach and North Beach Taxi Association this week, after many thought a new dress code initiative would not be enforced by their bosses.
Following the launch of the uniform programme last week, association chairman Yusuf Khaliva said 65 drivers and conductors had been told they should wear the numbered uniforms or their taxis would remain at the rank.
“We have stopped the vehicles of those who did not take it seriously,” said Khaliva.
The new plain green and blue golf shirts have a number on the right breast and provide an identification system for passengers who may have a complaint. A number is registered to a driver by the association, so his details may be brought up if necessary, said Khaliva.
The move to a mandatory dress code was brought about by customers who complained they were being robbed on taxis, or that when a parcel was left in the vehicle there was no way of tracking down the driver to retrieve it.
Khaliva said there were also cases of commuters paying their fee with a large note and needing change from a conductor, who then alighted from the taxi - leaving the commuter out of pocket.
“Let the rest of the (taxi associations) follow suit… by doing this we will become user-friendly to all races and make this the first choice of transport,” said Khaliva.
City manager Sibusiso Sithole said it was “welcome news” and would benefit the transport industry - the “backbone of the economy”.
Metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi said he was “encouraged” by the initiative, saying it would “inculcate a sense of responsibility” among drivers and owners.
“We are hoping that other taxi associations introduce similar initiatives,” he said.
Khaliva said there were also plans to perform random breathalyser tests on his employees while they worked, as complaints had been received about drunk drivers.