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By Sne Masuku | Sep 10, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WHISTLING, loud music and hooting is part of a day in the life of a taxi driver.

WHISTLING, loud music and hooting is part of a day in the life of a taxi driver.

It is good for business and attracts passengers but complaints by residents and businesses have prompted the eThekwini municipality to set aside R2,2million to train taxi drivers to improve and hone the image of the industry.

Yesterday the municipality launched the "No noise" campaign at the Durban city hall.

City manager Mike Sutcliffe said the campaign was the result of complaints from businesses and residents about the conduct of taxi drivers.

Sutcliffe said the complaints were mainly about excessive hooting, whistling and playing loud music day and night.

He said the city saw a need to train drivers, owners and rank managers in handling employment, management and customer care issues.

"This is in line with the city's vision and ties in with all the work done in preparation for the 2010 Fifa World Cup," Sutcliffe said.

"A meaningful and strong relationship with all taxi industry stakeholders is important."

The city has already trained 500 drivers and 100 taxi owners in the first phase of the project and were yesterday awarded certificates.

The one-week course covered customer service, basic first aid and HIV-Aids in the workplace, understanding basic legislation, and vehicle inspection skills.

Thami Nyawose, one of the drivers who received a certificate yesterday, said the training was useful and informative.

"Most of the issues covered in the course are things we know we are not allowed to do on the road but we do them anyway," Nyawose said.

"We are quite aware that the use of a hooter to attract passengers is wrong and irritating but we do it anyway."

Taxi owner Marcel Coughalansaid the course was excellent in every respect.

He said the issue that excited him most was the one on HIV-Aids, saying the industry had lost a number of drivers to the disease.

"The lack of a provident fund and medical aid makes things even worse when drivers become seriously ill ," he said.


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