Gauteng government announces plan to subsidise taxi fares
The Gauteng Public Transport, Roads and Works Department recently announced a plan to subsidise taxi fares, but it remains cagey about details.
Department spokesman Alfred Nhlapo said all stakeholders were being consulted on the initiative.
"It is unacceptable that a mode of transportation that accounts for 70percent of public transportation does not benefit from government subsidisation," he said.
But Nhlapowould not reveal details of areas where the pilot project would be launched, or the affect on taxi fares.
Satawu national chairman Oupa Old John said the union welcomed the move, but it still had concerns.
"We have campaigned to be part and parcel of the taxi recapitalisation plans," John said.
"The [taxi] recap will benefit commuters who cannot keep up with the ever-increasing taxi fares.
"This will definitely benefit both the commuters and operators. It will augment the income of the operator," he said.
"We are however concerned about the lack of detail on the nitty gritty of this proposal."
He said the industry still had issues such as route disputes, a lack of proper auditing of the industry and illegal operators.
"We need to know how this is going to work with such issues still on the table," John said.
The provincial department said the taxi recapitalisation programme had so far been successful.
The department reported that it had received 50000 applications for the conversion from operator permits to operating licences.
Nhlapo said the department expected to complete the process in this financial year and it would publish details of the new licences in the Government Gazette.
"These new licences will have drivers specifically linked to a particular route," Nhlapo said.