Sat Oct 22 18:16:42 SAST 2016

It is the sheepish who get my goat

By unknown | Aug 21, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Commuters who read my column often complain that I soften the problems or the realities of taxi life. I admit I have.

Just last week I stepped out of a taxi when someone overrode the queue marshal and tried to make us sit "four-four". I refused. I was not insulted or sent to the back of the queue.

The rest of the commuters accepted being squashed and the taxi duly drove off. They did not object.

I am a lone ranger, but other people are beginning to assert themselves, because they know their rights.

I am glad. It is the sheepish who get my goat. The whole taxi industry, with its abuse of passengers and the assassination of taxi bosses and drivers is shrouded in mystery. No one knows what is going on.

Despite other people's objections to my comments, they should ask themselves why they acquiesce to bad behaviour. I fight my own battles. I cannot fight other people's ones too.

Most drivers behave decently and are sensible if they are treated right. I have my grumbles too about unruly taxi ranks, but the blame rests on all of us.

I have rarely, except once or twice, presented the drivers' point of view. They suffer abuse from passengers whose attitude has been affected by previous encounters with the breed.

This is wrong.

I have received complaints from commuters who use other routes, especially Dobsonville. I have not written about these complaints because, as a journalist, I have not had first-hand knowledge or experiences about their frustrations.

I cannot write with any authority on something sent in anonymously and without evidence. Basic rules dictate that at least I experience some of the infringements, even the minor ones. But they are not on my route and I have other duties at 61 Commando Road.

I admit I have been remiss about this, and I apologise to those I have failed.

I am an expert on what happens on the routes I travel. I think I have even become a nuisance to the drivers and commuters. If the rules, written and unwritten, are infringed, I crow very loudly.

I travel on civilised routes where a complaint to any driver, or to the association about the service, is immediately looked into and rectified.

I will try to check other routes, especially the Dobsonville one, which allegedly has "coffin" taxis.

I do not want to be the Wyatt Earp of the industry.

I have tried with humour, patience and consultation, to correct the blatant infringements and abuses that spoil the day for commuters. I cannot do it alone.

I do not have the knack or the ability to fight on behalf of anonymous complaints.

I intend to write more about the congestion and danger to pedestrians, passengers and taxis at the Noord Street Taxi Rank.

This is a serious problem that starts as far back as Kruis, Wanderers, Hoek right down to Plein streets.


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