The City of Cape Town has announced that there will be a moratorium on new applications for metered-taxi operating licences to ensure sustainability and longevity of the industry. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency
The City of Cape Town has announced that there will be a moratorium on new applications for metered-taxi operating licences to ensure sustainability and longevity of the industry. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency

Moratorium on new operating licences for Cape metered-taxis until 2023

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 26, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has announced that there will be a moratorium on new applications for metered-taxi operating licences to ensure sustainability and longevity of the industry.

The City said the moratorium began on Wednesday and would continue until December 31, 2023.

The moratorium was necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the metered-taxi industry, the City said.

The metered-taxi industry, which includes drivers operating from a rank, base or an e-hailing platform, has grown since 2014 when applications for new operating licences were accepted again.

Since the emergence of new technology, the City said it had seen thousands of operators or drivers joining e-hailing platforms as cellphone applications made it easier for them to respond to passenger demands and needs.

The City did stress, however, that over the past 18 months or so, an over-supply of metered-taxis was threatening the sustainability of the industry in Cape Town.

The impact of Covid-19 has made the situation "dire“ and the City added that it had noted a significant drop in passenger demand since the pandemic emerged in South Africa in March 2020:

  • Tourist numbers have dropped significantly.
  • Many commuters who made use of metered-taxi services were now working from home, or preferred their private vehicles.
  • Fewer people are travelling after hours to bars and restaurants and places of entertainment, given the health and safety concerns related to the pandemic, and the restrictions imposed by the national government over the past 11 months

Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase said: “It is important to note that the metered-taxi industry is also concerned about an over-supply of metered-taxis in Cape Town.

“The industry tabled a request for a moratorium on new applications for operating licences at the Western Cape Provincial Transport Lekgotla on 15 October 2020; and also did so at the National Taxi Lekgotla in Boksburg on 29 and 30 October 2020.”

In 2017, at the Competition Commission’s inquiry into land-based public passenger transport, traditional metered-taxi operators, as well as e-hailing operators, submitted at hearings held in Cape Town that the number of operating licences needed to be limited so that supply and demand were aligned, subject to a reasonable waiting time for passengers and reasonable working hours for the drivers.

On Wednesday the City, as the planning authority for transport in Cape Town, informed the Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity of the moratorium on new applications for metered-taxi operating licences.

“The moratorium will not prevent new e-hailing platform providers to establish businesses in Cape Town. Metered-taxi drivers who are already in possession of operating licences can sign up or join any existing or new e-hailing platforms or subscribe and operate on multiple platforms, if they so wish,” said Purchase.

Also, metered-taxi operators who are in possession of valid operating licence(s) will not be affected by the moratorium.

The moratorium will be in effect until December 31, 2023.

The moratorium will also allow the City of Cape Town to:

  • Undertake an inventory of all metered-taxi operating licences in the system.
  • Develop a method to determine the demand for metered-taxi services which will govern support for new metered-taxi operating licences in future.
  • Review and update relevant by-laws, policies, statutory plans and strategies related to the metered-taxi industry.
  • Establish a metered-taxi inter-modal planning subcommittee as an umbrella body or forum for engagement with the industry.

Cape Argus

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