'Don't stop taxis at rush hour'
THE Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) has rejected calls by passenger associations for it to refrain from stopping taxis when they are ferrying commuters to work.
Yesterday, taxi commuters in Johannesburg were left stranded after taxi associations joined the strike organised by the South African Taxi Passengers Association (Satapa).
In the Johannesburg CBD commuters had to use metered taxis, which charged passengers double the normal fare, while others packed the backs of vans, trying to get to work on time.
Satapa was supported by the United Taxi Associations Front (Utaf) which enjoys support from 23 taxi associations.
The two organisations marched to the Gauteng department of roads and transport where they handed over a memorandum to the department head, Mavela Dlamini.
Satapa demanded, among others, that taxis ferrying people to work should not be stopped during peak hours.
"If they want to get the taxis, they know where they are found - at a taxi rank," said Satapa president Phillip Dhlamini.
But JMPD spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said: "That is not what the law says. People cannot just decide that we must ignore laws.
"This country has laws and we are the enforcers of the laws.
"When they drive people to work quite a number of them experience accidents. So at the time when they are ferrying people it is the time we are supposed to make sure that they are doing the right thing," Mamonyane said.
Satapa also demanded that passengers be subsidised and for taxis to be allowed to use the BRT-dedicated lanes.
Both Satapa and Utaf said if their demands were not met by the provincial department, they would then escalate the matter to the national Department of Transport.
City of Joburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said buses run on dedicated routes to ensure speed of service.
Modingoane said the city had had meetings with Satapa where a concept of managed lanes to alleviate congestion was presented.
"Opening Rea Vaya lanes to taxis will have a negative impact on the concept of a mass transit system and cannot be encouraged," he said