CAPE TOWN - A taxi fare increase is on the cards as the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) meets for a three-day national conference at Sun City this week.
Commuters said an increase would force them to explore alternative affordable transport.
Mzolisi Nkomo, a commuter from Site B Khayelitsha, said taxi associations should sympathise with citizens who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is unfair because during the Covid-19 pandemic, taxi fares were abnormally increased and now things are getting back to normality but still there is a hike. Most of us use taxis and we have no choice because trains are not operating in our areas. We hoped that matters would get better because things are back to normal, but it’s the opposite.
Taxis are expensive and unreliable because they are always involved in accidents, unlike trains where safety of commuters is guaranteed.
“Taxi associations cannot increase taxi fares in just a period of two years when people have lost their jobs,” said Nkomo.
Lizo Ndabambi, from Mfuleni, urged the government to intervene.
“I am afraid because should they increase taxi fares, as commuters we will use alternative transport that is affordable, and this might cause tensions in the transport industry. As you know, the taxi, bus and train industries are known for not seeing eye to eye and when one increases its fares people look for the affordable one,” said Ndabambi.
Santaco national spokesperson, Thabiso Molelekwa confirmed that a possible taxi fare increase was part of the conference agenda.
“We will be able to communicate with the media after our first day of the conference. Provinces will also communicate with their people regarding the matter,” said Molelekwa.
Santaco provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer said taxi fare increases was normally done by individual route associations.
Eastern Cape Uncedo taxi association spokesperson Zola Yolelo urged commuters not to panic about the possibility of a fare hike.
“Indeed we will be heading to the conference. The taxi industry in the country has been affected badly by the Covid-19 pandemic and as you know we had to park our taxis (during lockdown).
“On the other hand banks were harassing those who failed to make payments.
“We know that people feel that we are being unfair but we have no choice but to take this step. In the province we did not increase taxi fares for a very long time, even when we were facing difficulties. Things have gone up, including petrol, diesel and food and that automatically affects us because we depend on petrol and diesel to make a living. I can not give the exact figure of increment but it is something that will be discussed by associations after the conference. All I can say is that people will be notified before time,” said Yolelo.