Fares up, clothes off and another solution

It was a gloomy ride today as all the taxi routes raised their prices by R1. Many passengers were taken by surprise. They grumbled but it was too late to do anything. I wonder why taxi passengers do not organise themselves into an association to look after their interests.

It was a gloomy ride today as all the taxi routes raised their prices by R1. Many passengers were taken by surprise. They grumbled but it was too late to do anything. I wonder why taxi passengers do not organise themselves into an association to look after their interests.

Taxi fares used to go up by 20 or 50 cents a time. I do not believe this new R1 increase is because of inflation. It seems that R1 is an easy sum to add to the old price.

All in all I now have to pay an extra R6 a day for a round trip to work. This is the money that I occasionally give to my son to buy a quarter loaf or spahlo on Saturday afternoons. He will not get any treats after this.

Perhaps we should all go on strike and demand a 10percent increase or a serious subsidy for transport from the government.

It is the government's fault that town planning in South Africa is up the pole. In other countries, manufacturing plants or industrial centres are within walking distance or just two or three train stations away. Here, we pay a taxi to get to the train station, to take a train to some other town and then a second taxi to the company one works for.

Speaking of fares, I heard this funny story which happened in KwaNdebele during the last cold snap. A mnumzane - gentleman - boarded a taxi to Joburg. He sat in the back seat. Unfortunately no one else could get in because he filled up the place. The thin guy who attempted to sit next to him could not breathe and decided he was not going to have an uncomfortable ride to the city.

The queue marshal then placed the gentleman in the front seat, but he then squashed the driver. The driver and the marshal were scratching their heads, not sure what to do with this substantial gentleman.

At last the marshal had a brainwave. He asked the man to take off his coat. Then he asked him to take off his parka. The gentleman's size did not shrink by much. After cracking his skull a bit, the marshal asked the passenger to take off his tracksuit.

Then the man had to take off his suit jacket. Two polo-neck jerseys followed by a waistcoat were next. Two cardigans were shed. The man was left in his shirt with two differently coloured vests peeking out. He had shed much of his sudden weight.

But while the queue marshal could now fit three more passengers in the back seat, there was the problem of what to do with the man's clothes. That is when the driver hit on a brilliant plan.

"Mnumzane," he said "that is your seat. You can pay for two other seats to accommodate your wardrobe if you want it to go to Jozi with you."

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