Sun Oct 23 05:18:31 CAT 2016

Welcome relief ahead for suffering commuters - or what?

By unknown | Dec 02, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The price of petrol is coming down today, which is a big hurrah for embattled taxi commuters.

I know that most economic commentators mention Joe Motorist as a prime example of someone who is acutely affected by the petrol price.

No one mentions us poor commuters, such as bro Zakes Maoto, who have had to see beer and shoe money disappearing into taxi fares.

Passengers were afraid that taxi owners would increase fares during the festive season as they sometimes do.

Now this is not going to happen anymore. Older souls will remember that whenever Christmas came around, fares would increase by 50 cents. This was a gentle reminder of what to expect after the Easter recess. Today taxi fares go up by as much as R2,50 at a time.

The question on everybody's lips is whether the taxi bosses will give us a discount so that we may share in their relief at the cheaper price.

Why, we might even travel for fun again, which means they will gain from our trips to Pheli and Pankop to see auntie.

Perhaps the owners will also pity us and renovate their taxis a little. Some of the old ones smell of urine, takkies and old carpet, though the carpet has long been removed.

They could also fix the windows that are glued shut, making commuters suffer in the high summer temperatures. The ill-fitting windows are draughty in winter but trap heat in summer.

Money, or the lack of it, is governing everyone's life these days. There was a serious traffic jam at about 5pm in Johannesburg last Friday. The Metro cops were conspicuous by their absence.

Johannesburg streets were not crowded as usually happens at this time. We both felt sorry for ourselves as we were busy working for creditors and not ourselves.

I told the driver that I had not bought a new pair of shoes in three years. He told me that his friends did not welcome his visits because he could not buy them the frothy stuff anymore.

He was sad that his friendships did not survive the credit crunch. As we went up Market Street traffic slowed and finally stopped. Impatient drivers started hooting and cutting lanes ahead of each other.

We went up a side street but after two blocks we hit a minor traffic jam.

The driver advised us to get off since said he did not expect the chaos to get sorted out quickly. I told him that the Metro cops were doing visible policing these days and they would arrive sharp, sharp.

He said that always collapses at month end when the cops are paid. The banks are full of Mbeki grant recipients, so changing a cheque takes the whole day. He said they would be back the next day when they were broke again.


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