File image: IOL
The latest petrol price hike looks set to push taxi associations to increase fares earlier than usual this year.

Theo Malele, spokesperson of the National Taxi Alliance (NTA),  told The Star on Sunday that the taxi industry would struggle to cope with the latest petrol price increase.

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced on Sunday that both 93 and 95 octane would go up by 54c a litre on Wednesday. Paraffin will go up by 3c a litre, while diesel will increase by 1c.

The May 1 petrol hikes come after big increases in April.

While millions of commuters in the country rely on taxis to get to work, Malele said fuel increases always negatively affected owners’ profits and increased spending on fuel.

“It’s heavy for us to carry. We’re expecting our associations to begin to impress upon us how best they will look at adjusting prices.

“We need to tread on this mill very politely, because if we change prices, it hits the poorest of the poor, who are already spending more than 10% of their disposable income on public transport,” said Malele.

Noting that the petrol price would increase by 54c a litre from on Tuesday, the AA said: “The rand has appreciated quite strongly against the dollar since the end of March.

“The ground gained by the local currency has cushioned some of the blow, with diesel currently showing a slight decrease. The 3c increase in paraffin will come as a relief.”