I have been in Durban for about two months now and have found the taxi business here fascinating.
Having lived in Gauteng, Free State and North West before coming to Durban, I have observed that here there is no fighting between taxi drivers over commuters. You are basically free to choose any approaching taxi.
The conductors, who are in control of the taxi and collect fares, compete for waiting passengers. Any two conductors can approach the same passenger without it resulting in a (gun) fight.
Competition is accepted as part of the business. When they are pitching, the level of noise in a "rival" taxi could be highlighted by a competing conductor in order to lure a prospective passenger away. They even lower their fares for this purpose. The presence of a conductor, even though it may lead to overloading, importantly means that the driver only concerns himself with driving, which increases the safety of the passengers.
I must say though that the level of noise in Durban's taxis is too high. In addition, because of the competition for passengers, the taxis are slow in getting to their destinations. However, for me, they represent fresh thinking from the violence over routes and commuters that I have witnessed in Johannesburg.
Joseph Moyo, Durban