R12m Centurion taxi rank to open soon
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Pretoria - The long-awaited opening of the R12 million Centurion taxi rank is in sight, with the stakeholders set to meet today to finalise arrangements.
A taxi rank committee member, Paul Mokoena, said that 99% of the work had already been completed, and it was up to the associations and their various structures to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
“There are various documents we have to scrutinise regarding the working conditions at the rank,” he said.
They had already received the keys to the rank from the City of Tshwane, but various structures within the taxi associations needed to be in harmony and agreement reached on working conditions and regulations at the rank before they could operate, he said.
The MMC for roads and transport, Dikeledi Selowa, said the metro had given the thumbs-up to the Centurion Taxi Association, which is the front-runner association.
“The Centurion Taxi Association is the home association, and they already have their keys. They are discussing with the other associations they are working with to move in. Now it is just a matter of waiting for them to move in. And we are just monitoring the situation and the move,” she said.
Selowa said it was important to allow the taxi associations to talk about the leadership and hierarchy, as the industry was autonomous: “You must allow them to resolve some of their issues so you don't sit with any issues tomorrow.”
The project is being funded by Redefine Properties, and will be managed by a joint steering committee that includes the company, the City, the Centurion Taxi Association and Centurion Mall.
Plans for the facility date back to 2017 after the old taxi rank was demolished to make way for a corporate building.
The taxis moved to a nearby open field. The makeshift taxi rank is used by about 15 000 commuters daily while the new facility remains closed.
There were construction delays at some point owing to fears that the construction site might be dolomitic, but this was ruled out following an investigation.
Ward councillor Peter Sutton said the taxi rank on the corner of South Street and Hendrik Verwoerd Drive had not been without its challenges.
He said he would like to see a meeting between Selowa, the SAPS, metro police and security companies to look at the safety elements.
“We don't know the motives of taxi industry-related killings, so we have to make sure that the rank is safe for the commuters who easily amount to over 12 000 daily,” he said.
Sutton said vandalism at the construction site was also an ongoing problem.
“We are not going to let the new taxi rank be hijacked for criminal purposes.”
The 10 000m² facility will accommodate 55 taxis while providing holding areas for around 120 more.
“At any given time there are about 200 taxis at the current taxi rank. But the taxis tend to flow, so we believe there is adequate space for taxis at the facility.”
Sutton said the majority of taxi operators and commuters remained optimistic about the taxi rank.
“They are very grateful for this facility, which will make things a lot better,” he said.
He said he hoped that the new facility would improve conditions for informal traders from Region 4, who currently use cardboard boxes and crates to conduct their businesses.