Commuters wait for transport at the Bree Street taxi rank. The writer says this commuter hub is one of the largest but in disrepair, drains are blocked, it smells and the roof leaks. Picture: Wesley Fester

The lives of many are in the hands of an industry that enforces its own rules, says Phillimon Mnisi.

Johannesburg - The Taxi industry plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of the economy. For that reason, one would expect the government to take a keen interest in regulating and standardising the industry.

However, the government seems apathetic towards the regulation and management of the industry.

This has led to an industry that is self-regulating, rife with crime and corruption and putting commuters’ lives at stake.

Most disheartening is the number of casualties as a result of reckless driving from the industry.

Taxis are the preferred mode of transport because they are efficient, convenient, reasonable and able to manoeuvre through traffic.

They are flexible – available at any time – so commuters never have to wait long or until a certain time for departure.

They are mostly “floating”, which means they can freely collect commuters in different places without them having to wait at a taxi rank and without having to fill up first before taking them to their different destinations.

So they are an important part of the industry.

Toyota’s acknowledgement of that contribution to economic growth was evident when the carmaker invited taxi associations to name their new taxi fleet, Impendulo.

The government’s ignorance of the industry is concerning as it affects commuters, who are mainly commuting for economic purposes.

The lives of many are in the hands of an industry that enforces its own rules – a dangerous formula for the growth of a society, its stability and economy.

The common characteristic of taxi ranks is that they are filthy, smelly, wet and badly ventilated with poor lighting.

On the walk to Joburg’s Bree Street rank from where commuters travel mainly to Soweto and the south, one passes blocked drains and water drips from the upper levels of the ranks.

Are commuters supposed to be happy with this just because they reach their destinations?

Phillimon Mnisi

Protea Glen, Soweto

The Star