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Rank smell of confusion

By unknown | Oct 23, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The Noord Street taxi rank is a potential disaster zone. The rank serves routes to Soweto and the southern suburbs near Southgate Mall.

The Noord Street taxi rank is a potential disaster zone. The rank serves routes to Soweto and the southern suburbs near Southgate Mall.

There is a small corner for taxis to Alexandra, Bramley and Sandton.

It is also the major rank for taxis to the East Rand township of Vosloorus. There is a congested rank nearby in Joubert Street that houses long distance taxis.

The surrounding streets are also used as unofficial ranks by smaller routes who perhaps do not have the financial clout to buy themselves a berth inside the official taxi ranks.

All these ranks mean that hundreds of thousands of people converge on this tiny piece of the CBD at peak times to be taken to and from work.

But the city council is not efficient, or its architects are lazy sods. The ranks are still built according to the old apartheid model.

The Nationalist government wanted to intern Africans or "Plurals" in ghettoes. They restricted access to the townships, stadiums and other gathering places to just one entrance.

Most townships had one entrance which could easily be shut down in the event of riots or public disorder. This helped to contain the "Native problem" and freed whites to enjoy the rest of the country at their leisure.

The Noord Street taxi rank is built according to this model. Taxis use one entrance to get in and out of the rank. There is another entrance which is small and unpopular with most drivers.

As the petrol price goes through the roof and interest rates pauperise us, many wannabe middle-class folks have gone back to using taxis.

As a result, taxis are having a good season. Taxis come in and are filled in no time.

Few people queue, except for the poor people of Dawn Park, who are cruelly neglected. But that is another story.

The taxis, which are packed with tired, exhausted commuters, then have to wait 10 to 20 minutes to exit the rank.

There is no one around to regulate the traffic in and out of the rank. Ordinary motorists also use the adjacent roads to travel to the northern suburbs or to Hillbrow and Yeoville.

Taxi drivers intimidate these motorists into giving way against the green light and a traffic jam results.

Metro cops show their faces about once a week, but this does not help anyone. More policing is needed daily to avert disaster.

Police often raid the nearby streets in search of illegal vendors and foreigners. Just one teargas canister lobbed into the rank will cause unbelievable chaos.


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