South Africans are walking to work because they can no longer afford taxis
This is according to economist Professor Bonke Dumisa, speaking soon after the Land Transport Survey was released by Statistics South Africa yesterday.
The SA National Taxi Council confirmed that it was facing issues of having fewer passengers.
The figures show that 18.8% fewer commuters had used road and rail transport in August, compared to the same month in 2018.
The research showed while there had been over 119.3 million journeys by passengers in March to May this year, this had decreased by 4.6% to about 113.7 million journeys in the period from June to August.
In the report, Statistics SA said it had conducted the research on a monthly basis by sending out questionnaires to a sample of 705 enterprises.
Dumisa said the figures were not surprising.
He said unemployment and high fuel costs were playing a major role.
He said in tough economic conditions, people cut down on expenses wherever they could.
“When there is less economic growth, you will have fewer trips."
Dumisa said this would affect how taxis operate and would result in them fighting over routes.
The situation had come to a point where some taxi wars erupted on routes that were not known for having taxi conflicts, he pointed out.
He had also observed that there was now less traffic on the roads that carried taxis due to fewer trips being made.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) KwaZulu-Natal office manager, Sifiso Shangase, said unemployment was high and poverty also played a big role in people not taking taxis as much as before.
Shangase said he had observed that people were now getting up very early and spent hours walking to work even if it was a few kilometres away, rather than catching taxis as this would eat into their budgets.
This challenge was compounded by e-hailing apps.
He said the taxi industry had to learn to compete with other forms of transport, and that it also had to move with the changing times.