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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

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Council's plan to green the city backfires

By unknown | Mar 24, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

It all began with the City of Johannesburg's plan to green the city and reduce greenhouse emissions.

According to the municipality's website, the BRT project "is the single largest climate change initiative ever undertaken by the city and represents a major turning point in how the city deals with congestion, pollution and greenhouse gases as a result of transportation".

The project would use a single ticketing system.

Spokesperson for the BRT project Lerato Nkosi said yesterday that it became evident that the project would interfere with taxi routes.

"We then decided to call all the 18 taxi associations that would be affected to come on board. That is where the problems started as they complained that government would put them out of business," she said.

Nkosi said that prices for trips were not confirmed. She said the ticketing system would consist of a tag that would have to be loaded with fares.

Mayoral committee member responsible for transport Rehana Moosajee said last week that BRT would benefit the taxi industry as drivers would work shorter shifts, be paid regular salaries and get medical aid and pension. They would also contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Moosajee said: "Taxi operators will have the opportunity to become bus operators with long-term guaranteed contracts.

"They can recap ageing taxi fleets to new buses and own a share of the BRT."

In a separate project flighted by the South African National Taxi Council to comply with the taxi recapitalisation programme, taxi drivers in the Johannesburg and Pretoria route no longer handle cash.

Passengers buy smart cards worth R25 for a one-way trip.

"We are no longer afraid upfront with the driver because the burden of counting cash is no more.

"I enjoy the peaceful trips everyday," said Dorothy Mabanga, who works in Pretoria and commutes everyday from Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg.

Today, however, thousands of commuters will be stranded as taxi drivers take to the streets to protest against the project. Phase one of the project was expected to create 29000 jobs.


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