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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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New model of thinking

By unknown | Oct 02, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Commuters tell me that the newer the taxi the better the treatment from taxi drivers.

Commuters tell me that the newer the taxi the better the treatment from taxi drivers.

I do not know if this is true because I have met several taxi drivers who make jokes about their skorokoros. One driver on one of my routes once told me that the skorokoro we were travelling in had given birth to 12 other taxis.

The battered old goat had generated enough profits for the driver's father to buy 12 others. He said he was very fond of the old taxi and was saving money for a makeover.

He said the taxi was sound and just needed a bit of cosmetic surgery to restore it to its former glory. He also said the taxi was the bedrock of his father's fortune and had helped to educate all the children in the family.

He begged passengers at every stop to close the door with "tender loving care". He said the ill-fitting windows provided a welcome breeze in the warm summer months.

We could not stop laughing as he coaxed the taxi through the various industrial nodes we passed to the next rank. He spoke fondly to the skorokoro as though it was his father's favourite ox out in the rural areas.

Indeed, the taxi came back after an interval, spotting a new paint job and a new tapyt. It still stalled at traffic lights and we still had to close the door with tender loving care.

The other day a queue marshal scolded us because we did not want to get into a battered model that takes forever to reach town. He told us to have respect for the aged taxi, the same way we respect our elderly.

He said the taxi had served us faithfully and deserved acknowledgement and respect because of that. This was a new concept for us.

We dutifully climbed in for an excruciatingly slow, joint-shaking journey that took very long. We missed our connecting route taxis and arrived late at work.

A colleague complained about a taxi driver who drives a skorokoro that does not have a working speedometer and petrol gauge. She says she has twice had the misfortune to be stranded on the highway because the taxi ran out of petrol.

The driver simply got out of the taxi and started walking back to a petrol station they had passed 15 minutes ago. He neither apologised to his passengers for the tank running dry nor explained that he was going to get petrol. He just left them there, knowing they had no other recourse.

He came back with a measly 2l bottle of petrol which failed to start the car. He ordered the passengers, mostly female, to push the taxi so that it could start.

When my colleague complained about his behaviour, he sneeringly told her to either walk to work or buy her own wheels.


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