Blue Dot plan gets the nod from violence-ridden taxi industry
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Cape Town - Taxi associations and oppositions parties have given a cautious nod to the provincial transport department’s Blue Dot plan - a taxi initiative to bring stability to the violence-ridden taxi industry.
The plan follows on the successful roll-out of the Red Dot initiative that saw taxi associations collaborate with the province to collect and take home health care workers and Covid-19 patients.
ANC provincial transport spokesperson Lulama Mvimbi said: “The Blue Dot is meant to be an improvement on the Red Dot. Hopefully the province has learned lessons from their earlier mistakes.
“We also hope that the initiative will lead to the subsidisation of the taxi industry in the Western Cape. It is only fair that the taxi industry, which is a huge industry and transports over 50% of the population receive a subsidy,” said Mvimbi.
“Meanwhile, I hope that it will not be a source of conflict in the industry and that Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has fully consulted with the taxi industry,” said Mvimbi.
On the key lessons learnt from the Red Dot Initiative Madikizela said: “Firstly, that the Western Cape government and the minibus taxi industry are able to work together effectively to deliver a good quality service, and secondly that government has a key role to play in supporting the industry to deliver safer and better services through capacity development and ongoing support.”
Madikizela said: “The department is conducting extensive engagements with the minibus taxi industry, including South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape and the leadership of the Province’s eight minibus taxi regions.
“These engagements are ongoing and are progressing well.”
CEO of the Umanyano Travel Services taxi firm, Junaid Peters, said: “All eight Regional Taxi Councils have been consulted on the issue.”
“We are in the process of formalizing the regional taxi councils and mother body structures to companies. This will mean that all local registered taxi associations will be shareholders of such companies in their respective regions,” said Peters.
“The Blue Dot Initiative is an incentive program and not a subsidy programme. The department of transport is providing Santaco Western Cape via its business arm Umanyano Travel Services an incentive in return for complying with certain regulations to supply a safe, reliable and affordable transport service.”
“This program will see 1 300 vehicles roll-out a pilot project over a period of 22 months. Should such pilot be a success then it would be envisaged to roll out the balance of the entire 27000 strong taxi fleet.”
Santaco spokesperson Nazeem Abdurahman said: “We plan the rollout for January but we have been in consultations with the province and within the industry.”
“Even though we don’t have subsidies like Golden Arrow Buses, this scheme will help us improve our business,” said Abdurahman.