Taxi commuters will have to dig deeper into their pockets following Santaco's decision to increase fares.

JOHANNESBURG- With the petrol price increase about to hit South Africa, it's not only motorists who will have to now pay more to get around.

Taxi commuters too will have to dig deeper into their pockets following the South African National Taxi Association Council (Santaco)'s decision to increase fares.

As of Wednesday morning, taxi commuters will have to pay between R1 and R10 more to travel locally. However, not even long distance travellers will be spared as they will have to pay between R1 and R20 or even more in some areas.

According to Santaco's Thabisho Molelekwa, the taxi organisation's highest decision  making body – Management Council (MANCO) – had decided at its specially convened meeting that taxi fares for local and long distance operations would increase as of 01 August 2018. 

This, he said, was also in part due to the fact that they had faced immense business pressure from January 2017 to January this year as the petrol price increased by 130%. 

"There was a further fuel levy increase in 2018. Santaco has therefore decided the August 2018 increases will only be valid until June 2019 where they will be reviewed. 

"Santaco regrets the impact of these increases on the commuters especially the poor but unless they are effected, many taxi operators will struggle to stay in business and consequently offer this much needed service."

Meanwhile, Molelekwa dismissed reports that the taxi industry will be part of the planned petrol price strike that seeks to force government to ease petrol price strain on motorists. 

"While the taxi industry feels the pinch of the petrol price, Santaco believes a taxi strike on petrol is not an option for now. Instead Santaco wishes to meet with the State President Cyril Ramaphosa in order to find alternative ways of managing the pressure on taxis. This however, does not take away considerations for Santaco to embark on a strike or any other action," Molelekwa said.